Two weeks before early voting begins, Republican candidate for sheriff Roy Taylor says he is withdrawing from the race because he has not lived in Durham County consecutively for one year, which disqualifies him from becoming sheriff.
This allows Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill, a Democrat, to sweep into his fifth term in office unopposed. Taylor said late Tuesday that he had learned earlier in the day that he was ineligible to become sheriff because he spent about five months last year living in apartments in Wake County. The issue was brought to his attention, he said, after renewing his permit to carry a concealed weapon in Durham at the county courthouse. The application asked him to list his past 10 addresses, which included two recent addresses in Raleigh.
Taylor said someone from the sheriff’s office disseminated the permit application to the media and others on Monday, and that’s how Taylor realized Tuesday he was ineligible to run.
“I’m going to withdraw. I want to be an honest broker,” Taylor said. “If I’m not qualified to run, then I’m not going to be out there. I just wish the board of elections would have told me about the requirement.”
Taylor said he sold his long-time Durham home in July 2009 after he and his wife divorced. He temporarily moved to Wake County while looking for another home in Durham. He moved back to Durham in December 2009, he said.
Taylor said he was not aware of the one-year residency requirement when he filed to run for office, and that he was not informed of the rule. He said elections officials checked his voter registration and accepted his paperwork. Officials at the county Board of Elections were not available for comment after hours Tuesday. A Durham Board of Elections web page shows requirements for Sheriff, but doesn't specify the year-long residency requirement. But an easily located fact sheet (PDF) at the N.C. State Board of Elections makes the requirement clear.
Taylor, who works as an anti-terrorism specialist for the U.S. Army National Guard and owns a private security company, said he has spent about $15,000, including about $13,000 of his savings, on the campaign. (The next round of campaign finance reports that would reflect Taylor's most recent expenditures aren't due until Oct. 25.)
Much of Taylor’s campaign has focused on scandals and improprieties that have happened during Hill’s tenure, including embezzlement and other crimes committed by a few of Hill’s employees.
“I hope that my campaign has brought out some issues and the sheriff will focus on [doing] a good job serving the community. I want to leave it on a positive note. I’m withdrawing because it’s the most honorable thing to do,” Taylor said. Hill, 73, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Look for updates on Triangulator on Wednesday.