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Wilson sheriff employee says he'll seek post

Posted May 12, 2010

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— Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay's right-hand man is throwing his name in the ring for the office after Gay lost his primary bid to keep the seat.

Maj. John Farmer announced Wednesday his plans to run as an unaffiliated candidate against Democrat Calvin Woodard in November's general election.

Woodard, an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation and a former Wilson County deputy, defeated Gay in the May 4 election by a 62-38 percent margin, putting an end to Gay's 28 years as sheriff.

Because no Republicans filed for the sheriff's race, the Democratic Primary was the de facto election for the post, meaning Woodard would win the race if he ran unopposed.

Four percent of Wilson County voters – 2,186 people – must sign a petition for Farmer to have his name placed on the ballot.

Farmer, who's retiring June 1, said Wednesday he has considered running for sheriff in the past but never wanted to run against Gay. He decided to put off his retirement after Gay lost and community members urged him to run.

"I've been overwhelmed with phone calls and people coming to me, wanting another name on the ballot in November, wanting a choice," Farmer said. "It's been my life for 30 years, and yes, I do not want to walk away from it.

"The 12 years of experience that I have in administration of managing the $11 million budget, the 164 employees, I feel like I am more qualified then my opponent," he added.

Woodard said Wednesday that he still considers himself to be the most qualified candidate and that Farmer's decision to run means voting Gay back into office.

Last week, Gay told supporters he would work to help another candidate defeat Woodard, but he later backed away from that pledge, saying he wouldn't be a part of any such effort.

"The people see what's going on," Woodard said. "(Gay's) setting up a foundation for Johnny Farmer to run, so that, basically, he can get his office back."

Farmer said he has his own vision for the sheriff's office.

"We don't need to revamp everything, but there are some things we can fine-tune that will make this sheriff's office more efficient," he said.

The sheriff's election in Wilson County has been a controversial one. Gay initially blamed race for his defeat, saying the black community didn't vote on qualifications but took advantage of an opportunity to elect a black sheriff.

Farmer said he plans to keep the campaign focused on the office of sheriff.

"I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that this is about the candidates," he said.


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  • COPs eye May 19, 2010

    It is apparent that come November 2, 2010 Calvin will be the undisputed, undefeated winner and the new Sheriff of Wilson. Decmeber 6, 2010 Sheriff will be swearing in all his deputies. Minus those that under cut Calvin and spread vicious rumors about him. I would be very worried If I was a Major!!!! You reading this Chris, look for another job.

  • JacJac210 May 17, 2010

    Further, why Major John Farmer, the right hand man of Sherriff Gay, has only now decided to seek this seat? If Major Farmer has his own visions for the Sherriff’s office and feel as though he is the best qualified, he should have voiced it years ago. It has become painfully clear that these two men only seem to be determined not to lose this race to a Black man, at any cost. One thing Sherriff Gay did get right; the residents of Wilson have the right to fill this office as they please. A 62-38 percent margin in favor of Mr. Woodard speaks volume. They should not be ridiculed or bullied for their choice. If the residents don’t like the changes they’ve made, they can always vote for someone else when the time comes. For now, they have made a clear statement, respect it!

  • cpanther85 May 17, 2010

    He played the race card not Calvin. Gay also hired Shelton Barnes (black man) and payed him $5000.00 dollars to help persuade voters. This is public record. Also public record is that Wayne Gay spent $91,000.00 on his Campaign to run for sheriff..

  • JacJac210 May 17, 2010

    Apology is not accepted. That is what the residents of Wilson, North Carolina should be saying to Sherriff Gay.

    To be honest, I’m a bit confused! Exactly why is Sherriff Gay apologizing? Is he sorry because he literally called the residents of Wilson who voted for Mr. Woodard ignorant because they were only voting for Mr. Woodard because he is black? Is he sorry for causing so much pain when he played the race card? Is he sorry for being a sore loser and vowing to help place another candidate on the ballot to run against Mr. Woodard. Or is Sherriff Gay only saying that he is sorry after his advisors told him that would be the appropriate thing to do?

    I’m not some naive individual who thinks all is well. While people have learned to coexist, it is sad to say that RACISM is very much alive and thriving. Sherriff Gay tried to use the race card for his benefit. It backfired! As a result, Sherriff Gay actively and with malice revived and encouraged a racial divide.

    All t

  • gmdavis12012 May 14, 2010

    I would like to remind the readers here that all county departments write budgets and then present them to the county commissioners for aproval. After they get aproval for any amount, they are later audited to make sure the money is being spent the way it was supposed to be. You cant not conviinece me that any county will just turn over 11 million dollars to anyone and say see ya next year when you want more.. so i doubt " the books " are really a problem.

  • cpanther85 May 14, 2010

    CRIME FACTS: "http://www.ncwanted.com/ncwanted_home/story/7521146/

    "Wilson County had a rate of 486 violent crimes and 3,824 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2008, according to state statistics. The rates are higher than neighboring Wake County."

  • cpanther85 May 14, 2010

    We just got a new police chief. Thomas Hopkins is his name

  • cpanther85 May 14, 2010

    Our business is in the county! $10,000 + stolen from us twice! No leads from the sheriffs office. Other than the police report we never saw or herd back from them again. They seem too busy for a tax paying, law abiding business owner that has been a citizen in Wilson for 50 years! Probaly too busy collecting taxes on dogs! Which they got pet owners names from the vet.

  • smokem May 14, 2010

    The crimes listed below by cpanther85 occured in the city limits of Wilson. The Wilson PD would be in charge of patroling that area not the Sheriff's Department. Maybe we need a new Police Chief.

  • cpanther85 May 14, 2010

    Just the Facts about Wilson - You should know that Cliff Crosby was nominated for INTERNATIONAL insurance adjuster of the year last year and is an honest man that I know personaly. He among the rest of Calvin's staff are honest people who are trying their hardest to make a postive change in Wilson. Gay said day after the election in the Wilson Daily times Wednesday May 5, 2010 page 7A that " If he thinks for one minute that he's going to walk in the Sheriffs office in November without any opposition on the ballot, he's a fool". Gay has been on the ballot by himself for majority of the 28 years in sherrifs office and he makes a comment like this. These people are scared of the shake down that is coming in Wilson. True Justice will be restored!