Lawless to seek Republican nomination for county sheriff

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said he will not run for re-election next year, but he will support his chief deputy, Jeff Lawless, who is.

Sexton said there are a number of reasons why he will not seek a third term, but no one reason in particular. He said this is something he has thought about and prayed about and decided after careful consideration.

“I have enjoyed my time here at the sheriff’s office. I plan to fulfill the remainder of my term,” Sexton said. “But it was just time to make that decision and it was much easier for me when there is a person I have faith and trust in who can serve as sheriff and continue with what we have accomplished. He (Lawless) has my unwavering support.”

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Lawless, with a 21-year career in law enforcement, said he decided to put his hat into the ring only after Sexton decided not to.

“I started at the sheriff’s office in 1986 and I’ve always had it in mind I would like to be sheriff, but Tim and I are friends as my loyalty is to him and to what is best for the sheriff’s office,” Lawless said. “When he decided he would not seek re-election, I decided it was something I would do.”

So far, Lawless is the only person who has picked up a petition to run for sheriff. But the filing deadline is still months away— Jan. 4, 2008.

Lawless was previously a deputy under former sheriff Dan Hieronimus and then spent several years at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon before returning to the sheriff’s office in 2001.

Sexton said he has no plans to seek any other office in 2008, despite rumors to the contrary.

Others have also picked up petitions to run for office next year and a few have already filed the necessary paperwork. Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling, who was appointed earlier this year to replace the late Frank McCown on the bench, has filed to run for that office. Juvenile Probate Judge David Payne has picked up a petition to seek re-election but has not yet returned that petition.

The county commissioner’s race may well be the most crowded of all the fields. Incumbent Republican Jason Stephens has picked up a petition, as has Democrat Paul Carmon, who would run against him.

For the unexpired term of the late George Patterson, incumbent Democrat Tanner Heaberlin, who was appointed to take Patterson’s seat, is one of two Democrats and three Republicans who have picked up petitions. The other Democrat is Jon Hitchcock and the Republicans are Perry Brock, Donald Adkins and Tyler Walters.

Incumbent Republican Les Boggs has filed the necessary paperwork to seek re-election; Democrat Mike Patterson has picked up a petition for that post.

For the position of Lawrence County Treasurer, Democratic incumbent Stephen Dale Burcham has picked up a petition to seek re-election.

One person has thus far picked up a petition to run for coroner: Kurt Hofman.