News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 27, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It is one political race that has everybody talking -- except for the man who's about to be replaced. The race for Richmond County sheriff leaves the current sheriff in a tight spot.
It is the talk of the town. Is Sheriff Strength's wife calling the shots when it comes to him endorsing a candidate for sheriff of Richmond County?
"And certainly, if she were doing this," said Austin Rhodes, "wouldn't that make her an A-1 wicked witch?"
Rhodes touched off a heated debate with those words.
"Anytime someone talks about a family member," said Lt. Robbie Silas, "especially my sister, I am devastated by that."
Silas also wants to be the next top cop. He sat down with News 12 to speak directly to the allegations.
"Has anyone in your family suggested that Sheriff Strength wait to endorse?" News 12's Chris Thomas asked.
"No," Silas replied flatly.
Rhodes is skeptical.
"Anyone who has done what she has been accused of doing," Rhodes said. "That is unacceptable."
The sheriff plans to wait until after next Tuesday's primary to endorse a candidate.
"Well whoop-de-doo," cried Rhodes. "That's like making a prediction on who is going to win the Super Bowl in March."
Silas understands the sheriff's decision.
"He wants the best for this community," Silas said. "He's just being loyal to us three that work for him."
Rhodes says he feels the community needs to hear from Strength.
"If we see anyone less than the best person, we are taking a hell of a chance," he said.
"That's your opinion though, right?" we asked Rhodes.
"It's what I do for a living. You're right. You go to do a doctor for an opinion as well," Rhodes said. "I'm the doctor of local politics."
The sheriff says he will endorse a candidate if there is a runoff.