BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — Sullivan County Commissioner Ty Boomershine said Friday that he will challenge Sheriff Wayne Anderson in the Republican primary.
“Over the last year, a lot of people have asked me if I was interested in the position,” Boomershine said in an interview with the Bristol Herald Courier at the Election Commission office. “I didn’t really answer. I had an interest, but I started talking to the community. I put some feelers out and organized a committee.”
Boomershine, 48, worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 22 years, as an investigator and supervisor of the SWAT team. He left in 2009 and started a restaurant in Bristol.
Boomershine said the time is right for Sullivan County to make a change. Anderson was not mentioned by name, but Boomershine was critical of the department.
Last year, Anderson, who has been sheriff since 1998, sued Sullivan County for nearly $10 million in additional funding for the department. The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court for a small fraction of the original amount, but there was friction between Anderson, Mayor Steve Godsey and county commissioners for months.
“Some of the relationships have been strained,” Boomershine said. “I think that who was left out through all of that is the taxpayer. They have been sued. They had to pay to defend themselves, and they had to pay for the other side’s defense and then they had to settle that. And they are no better off than when they started.”
Boomershine said he wants to bring a proactive approach to law enforcement. He said not all crime can be prevented, but he wants the Sheriff’s Office to do more than just respond to calls.
“I am the type of person who thinks we ought to be working to prevent crime from happening instead of reacting to it,” Boomershine said. “We should actually be trying to prevent it.”
Boomershine, who lives in Piney Flats, said he has learned a lot about the county and the budgeting process while on the commission and serving as a member of the county’s Budget Committee.
He said he’s received a lot of favorable feedback from the community about running for sheriff.
Friday was the first day for those who are running for a county office to pick up petitions. Boomershine said he will work over the next couple of weeks and complete all the necessary paperwork to be on the ballot. The filing deadline is Feb. 20.
“That is all I’m focused on right now,” Boomershine said.
He said he wants to run a positive campaign and is willing to work hard over the next few months to win the May 6th primary. The winner of the Republican primary will face the Democratic candidate, if there is one, on Aug. 7.
Anderson declined to comment on Boomershine’s announcement.
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