The election campaign for Marshall County Sheriff might have four candidates instead of maybe three, now that a career Lewisburg Police leader has thrown his hat into the ring.
Capt. David Ray will run for sheriff in the Aug. 5 election, he said Tuesday. Ray picked up a petition to be named on the ballot and he says the deadline to file is in line with his retirement plans.
Meanwhile, Lewisburg Police Chief Chuck Forbis has "not decided yet" on whether he will file a petition of candidacy, although since a report that he's thinking about it, he says "quite a few (people) have talked to me about running. It's been positive feed back."
However, Sheriff's Detective Capt. Norman Dalton and former Chief Deputy Roger Fagan are as certain about running as Ray, confirming their intentions even if they'd not filed a petition of candidacy with the required 25 signatures from registered voters.
"As far as I'm concerned, there are four good people running for office and we'll leave it up to the citizens of Marshall County to decide," Ray said. "I hope we all run a good clean race. We've always been friends. I hope we stay friends."
Ray, 64, served as interim chief before Forbis was hired. Ray had also served as an interim chief before that.
Asked about his health, a factor that caused concern for several months last year, Ray replied, "I had colon cancer and I am in remission. In the past three checkups, I've been found to be free of cancer. I'm as close to 100 percent as I could be."
Ray started working for the Lewisburg Police Department in 1974. Before that he was a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff's Department for one year in 1973-74. As of September last year, Ray had been with the police department for 35 years.
His father was in law enforcement for more than 40 years and his grandfather was a sheriff in Wayne County. In Waynesboro, his father served as chief of police and chief deputy.
"There's a history of law enforcement in my family," Ray said. "I want to continue that, hopefully as a sheriff."
"I've been thinking about that for quite some time," he said while explaining reasons to run. "Of course Les Helton has made Marshall County a great sheriff. I always supported him and wouldn't run against him."
Helton has made it known that he won't run for re-election to a sixth term.
"Now, I'm fixing to retire from the city," Ray said. "This is my shot at continuing my service to Marshall County, so that's why I'm going for it right now."
Ray plans to retire from the police department "right at the first of April," he said. "April 1 is a good time for me to retire."
"I've had people look at me and say, 'You're going to retire and then run for office?'" Ray said.
April 1 is the deadline for filing candidate petitions.
"I'm going to file as soon as I do all the things I need to do," Ray continued. "At this time, I'm getting the signatures" for the petition.
"And I'll get my psychological examination in," he said of one of the state requirements for law enforcement officers.
Ray has been divorced for more than 20 years. He has one son, Jason Ray, who lives in Chapel Hill, and two grandsons attending school in Chapel Hill.