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REIDSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — Longtime Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page has officially announced his campaign for lieutenant governor of North Carolina.

Page made the announcement during a news conference at the Rockingham County Republican headquarters in Reidsville.

Rockingham Sheriff Sam Page

Page, 66, has served as sheriff in Rockingham County since 1998. He was most recently re-elected to his seventh term in November 2022, where he earned 65.7% of the more than 32,000 votes cast in beating two challengers for sheriff. Page was unopposed in 2018 and took 76% of the votes in 2014.

Page also served as the statewide chair of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. Trump’s support could weigh large in Page’s campaign. The pair have a strong relationship with Page attending events at the White House during his Presidency and testifying before Congress about law enforcement and immigration.

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.

Page appears to have support among higher-level GOP officials. Diane Parnell, the chair of the Rockingham GOP, confirmed that she had heard from higher-level GOP officials that Page “needs to be running for higher office.”

Page made clear during his announcement that he intends to continue his work as sheriff during his campaign.

“I am the duly elected sheriff of Rockingham County and you know what, I’m gonna continue working as the sheriff.” said Page. “We have a great group of men and women that work at the Sheriff’s Office and will continue doing what we do, which is to protect and serve the people of this county, the great people of this county.”

Page said during his announcement that he has spent most of his life in public service.

“All of my adult life, from the military to the present, I’ve been a public servant.,” said Page

Page cites that experience as what separates him from the other candidates in the race.

“I’m starting my 25th year as sheriff, my seventh term, and I’ve had the honor and the opportunity to serve because the citizens of North Carolina and Rockingham County have allowed me to do so,” said Page. “And I look at my experience, there’s no candidate in this race on either side that has experience in public safety and has the ability to have worked with many great local people, local officials. “

Page went on to list some of the organizations he has worked with over the years.

“I’ve worked with local, state and congressional work for many years,” said Page. “I’ve worked with the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association. I’m the past president of the association, working with 100 sheriffs across the state. I currently serve on the executive committee with the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.”

Public service and safety were at the heart of Page’s announcement.

“I’m a public servant and public safety is what I know,” said Page. “And that’s what I have to offer all the citizens and all the people of North Carolina as your lieutenant governor.”

To close his announcement, Page mentioned two of his hobbies, long-distance running and flying, and the impact they have on his approach to the race.

“As a long-distance runner, here’s what I learned from my coaches. You run it all the way through to the finish line and I’m going to do that,” said Page. “Imagine a test pilot in the Air Force. Jumping in that jet, that experimental aircraft strapping on the gear, putting on that helmet, lowering the canopy and launching and pushing the envelope, ladies and gentlemen, today we pushed that envelope in North Carolina.”

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:

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  • 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.