Sutherly calls off sheriff campaign plans

Tim Sutherly

STRASBURG – Police Chief Tim Sutherly said Thursday he is scrapping a long-anticipated campaign for Shenandoah County sheriff, citing concerns about the health of his 5-year-old son as the reason.

Sutherly’s decision comes more than a year after he announced he intended to run as an independent against Republican Sheriff Timothy C. Carter. Sutherly never made a formal announcement but insisted throughout 2014 that it was only a matter of time before he officially committed to the race.

Carter announced his candidacy months ago and now stands unopposed, although the deadline for independent candidates to file papers declaring their candidacies isn’t until June 9.

Sutherly said he could not commit to the effort it would take to run for sheriff while his son is afflicted with epilepsy, an illness that disappeared for a while but resumed this year.

“While I could get my name on the ballot, I wouldn’t have had the time and attention necessary to give the campaign an honest effort, and, if I were fortunate enough to win, I wouldn’t have had the time to give the job the attention it deserves,” Sutherly said.

“My wife and I decided now is not the time for me to run for sheriff of Shenandoah County,” Sutherly said.

Sutherly said he held off on making a final decision about whether to run for sheriff until seeing some test results last week about his son’s medical condition.

He said preoccupation with the tests his son was undergoing was the reason why he missed a deadline earlier this month for filing a campaign finance statement.

Sutherly said doctors are expecting his son to be coping with epilepsy for “the foreseeable future.”

“He’s fine,” Sutherly said of his son. “It’s probably harder on us than it is on him. It’s nothing life-threatening necessarily. It’s just worrisome, and you have no idea of the cause or if and when it will come to an end.”

Sutherly said his son’s illness does not affect the job he does as police chief, a job he intends to keep indefinitely.

“We’re going to be the best law enforcement partners we can be and move forward,” Sutherly said of his department.

Carter had little to say about Sutherly’s decision not to run against him. Sutherly had criticized Carter for spending too much effort on trying to nab traffickers in illegal cigarettes while the area’s heroin problem continues to fester.

“The only thing I would say is that running for office is a personal decision,” Carter said. “I don’t question individuals about what’s going on in their personal lives with their families.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com