Local News

Incumbent Vance Sheriff Loses To Challenger In Runoff

Posted May 31, 2006 9:06 a.m. EDT

— With a rising crime rate, jailbreaks, and multiple drug busts, Vance County residents say they have had enough. And that is how they voted, with the incumbent sheriff losing by more than 1,000 votes in Tuesday's runoff.

Sheriff candidate Peter White defeated Sheriff Thomas Breedlove with more than 3,800 votes. After 16 years on the job, Breedlove will step down, and White steps in with an agenda for change.

"I'm a little hurt, that's natural, but I'll survive," said Breedlove.

The election was front-page news all over Vance County. Breedlove was beaten by a candidate with no previous political experience.

"Well, the question of the day seems to be, how many people are you going to get rid of? Are you going to clean house?" said White.

White spent 24 years with the Highway Patrol before retiring. He said he has no plans for immediate personnel changes.

"All I will require is integrity, loyalty, and a day's work for a day's pay," said White.

When asked to assess Breedlove's election loss, Rev. Rick Brand with the First Presbyterian Church pointed to a poor economy with the loss of textiles, tobacco and retail jobs in the last decade, while the crime rate is rising.

"Crime may be our only growth industry," said Brand. "You know, Sheriff Breedlove took the blame or took the hit for that."

"The citizens have spoken, and I accept it," said Breedlove.

Breedlove has no plans to leave office early. White won't take over as sheriff until early December. Of 24,000 registered voters in Vance County, less than 10 percent voted in Tuesday's runoff election.