Convicted ex-North Carolina sheriff can run for old job
A former sheriff who gained fame for painting his jail cells pink and hosting a cable television show before he pleaded guilty to felony obstruction charges can run for his old office, a North Carolina elections board says.
The Davidson County Board of Elections voted 3-1 on Tuesday to grant Gerald Hege permission to run for sheriff.
Hege pleaded guilty in 2004 after authorities accused him of racial profiling, taking county money and driving his car at high speeds when there was no apparent emergency.
Hege had been ineligible to run, but a law that went into effect last December reduced from 15 to 10 years the time those convicted of nonviolent felonies must wait to request to have the crimes wiped from their records.
“I’ve been fighting for this for 14 years,” Hege said. “I’m just going to go campaign.”
Hege said he plans to run a “military” office again if he’s elected. Last month, Angela Anderson filed a challenge to Hege’s candidacy, saying his expungement doesn’t make him qualified to run for sheriff, according to the 2010 constitutional amendment that states a convicted felon cannot run for sheriff “whether or not that person has been restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law.”