CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, the name of Rep. Jeffrey Elmore was misspelled. We apologize for this error.

WENTWORTH, N.C. (WHGP) – Longtime Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page, who served as statewide chair of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, apparently has his eye on higher office.

Page, a 66-year-old Republican who was re-elected to his seventh term in November, confirmed to WGHP that he is having a press conference Saturday morning to discuss his political future. Sources told WGHP that Page will announce he is seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.

Rockingham Sheriff Sam Page

Page only would say that the news conference would be at 10 a.m. at the Rockingham Republican headquarters, which is at 221 Piedmont St. in Reidsville.

Diane Parnell, the chair of the Rockingham GOP, confirmed that Page had asked to use the facility and she had heard from higher-level GOP officials that Page “needs to be running for higher office.”

Two sources familiar with Page and GOP politics confirmed the plans, and Page reportedly had traveled to Raleigh on Friday morning to file his paperwork with the state party.

A source with the state Republican Party said he had not heard discussions about the possibility of Page’s entering the race for lieutenant governor.

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam page speaks to FOX8 in December 2020. (WGHP)
Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page speaks to FOX8 in December 2020. (WGHP)

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, elected in 2020, is running for governor to succeed Democrat Roy Cooper, who is term-limited.

Notably, in North Carolina, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor do not run together on the same ticket.

Likely candidates

Although the NC Board of Elections website has not posted a list of candidates who have filed for the 2024 election, Page, long a force in state Republican politics, would enter a crowded field. Based on a candidate tracking sheet maintained by Catawba College government professor and blogger Michael Bitzer, there are already five confirmed Republican candidates for lieutenant governor:

  • Jeffrey Elmore, the long-time representative in House District 94 who also teaches in Wilkes County Public Schools.
  • Hal Weatherman, who was chief of staff and campaign manager for former Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.
  • Jim Kee, a former member of the Greensboro City Council and candidate in two other elections.
  • Peter Boykin, owner of the conservative political website
  • Allen Mashburn, pastor of Asbury Baptist Church in Randolph County who is photographed on his website with Lt. Gov. Robinson.

Sen. Jim Burgin (R-Hartnett) also has been mentioned as a candidate but is unconfirmed.

There also are four Democrats who have confirmed their plans:

  • Rachel Hunt, a state senator from Mecklenburg County and daughter of former Gov. Jim Hunt.
  • Ben Clark, a former state senator from Chatham County who ran for Congress in the 9th District last November.
  • Raymond Smith Jr., a former representative for District 21 in the state House.
  • Delmonte Crawford, a civil rights activist with no prior political experience.

Former Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey withdrew his previously announced plans. State Sen. Sydney Batch (D-Wake) has been mentioned.

Trump’s support

The trump card in all of this though could be Trump himself. Page, in 2019 took over as his state chair, and Trump carried North Carolina in 2020, beating President Joe Biden by less than 75,000 votes.

Page and Robinson, who won his first political race by 3.2 percentage points, both have strong relationships with Trump, and Robinson and Trump appeared at a statewide campaign rally last spring for Sen. Ted Budd, who won his race over Democrat Cheri Beasley in November largely because of their endorsements.

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 7: (AFP OUT) Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor for policy, left, talks to Samuel Page, sheriff from Rockingham County, North Carolina before the start of a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harrer – Pool/Getty Images)

Trump – along with former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – is scheduled to attend the GOP state convention June 8-11 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.

Robinson, a Greensboro native, also has confirmed his plans to attend. State Treasurer Dale Folwell, a native of Winston-Salem, and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker of Greensboro, also GOP candidates for governor, are expected to join him, although the program does not include a scheduled appearance for any of them.

Dominant victories

Page, a recognized force among sheriffs in North Carolina, also has attended events at the White House when Trump was in office and testified before Congress about law enforcement and immigration. He served as a member of the National Sheriff’s Association’s Border Security and Immigration Committee.

First elected in 1998, Page earned 65.7% of the more than 32,000 votes cast in beating two challengers for sheriff last November. He was unopposed in 2018 and took 76% of the votes in 2014.

Page is a 1975 graduate of Reidsville High School, but his profile on LinkedIn shows no college coursework. He served in the U.S. Air Force (1975-80) and before running for sheriff was a detective in the Eden Police Department.