News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's official. We are heading for a runoff in the race for Richmond County sheriff. Sheriff Ronnie Strength is now endorsing Scott Peebles.
"I need you to get me through on August 21st," said Peebles to a crowd of supporters. "I promise I'll make all of you proud, and I''ll be your next sheriff."
One day after that declaration, Peebles received an endorsement from Sheriff Strength. Strength's "best friend in the world," Republican nominee Freddie Sanders, joined me on my weekly radio segment on 96.3 Kiss FM with Fattz and Cher.
"That would be ex-best friend," said Sanders with a smile. "He has got to do in his heart what he feels is right. He is still my friend. We are going to live with it and move forward. It is not going to be a deal-breaker."
It is worth noting the sheriff is only endorsing Peebles in the Democratic runoff against Lt. Richard Roundtree.
"I talked to the sheriff today," Peebles said. "He congratulated me on running a good race and wished me luck."
Peebles says the sheriff's letter of support gives him a strong sense of obligation.
"I want to prove to the citizens of Richmond County that I can make this a world-class sheriff's office," Peebles said. "Improve on what Ronnie Strength has already done."
Democratic opponent Roundtree is playing down the endorsement.
"We want the community to endorse us and say we believe in your message. Not just one person," Roundtree said. "Anytime you get somebody behind you, it's always good because again the media plays up on it and they make it a big deal. That person can vote one time."
The sheriff's best friend gets the last word.
"Congratulations to Scott," Sanders said. "He got an important endorsement. I will tell you that."
The runoff is Aug. 21.