Former Loudoun sheriff Simpson to make another bid for office
Simpson, a four-time incumbent, was unseated by Sheriff Mike Chapman in November 2011 by nearly 9,000 votes.
Simpson said he's circulating a petition to be able to officially announce his candidacy some time next week.
He said his decision to run again came after Eric Noble, a former Loudoun senior commander, lost in the Republican primary to Chapman.
“I planned on supporting Eric Noble, but he lost … he said. “Since then my phone has been ringing off the hook from members of the sheriff's office and citizens to run again … The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Simpson said at this stage he's talking with people in the communities to get a sense of what they're looking for in a sheriff and what problems they believe are facing the sheriff's office today.
He has until June 9 to declare his candidacy and file the necessary paperwork. He needs 129 petition signatures to enter the race.
Simpson was first elected sheriff in 1996 as a Republican. In 2007, he lost the GOP nomination, but won the general election as an independent.
In his bid for office in 2011, he faced a contentious battle. Simpson, still running as an independent, faced several challengers.
The GOP at the time was fighting with itself as Chapman and candidate Ron Speakman, a former Leesburg street cop, faced off in a GOP primary.
Chapman took the nomination, and Speakman almost immediately announced as an independent.
The scenario then looked much different than it does now.
In September 2011, a group of Republican constitutional officers banded together on the steps of the old Loudoun County Courthouse, arms almost interlocked, to express their concerns about Speakman.
All endorsed Chapman for office.
Today, the party, despite Chapman's recent primary win is split, with Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman endorsing Noble.
Should Simpson garner enough signatures to run as an independent, he will face off against Chapman and Democrat Brian Allman, a former Fairfax detective and Manassas police officer.
Simpson said he had not planned on going back – after all he retired after losing the election and was enjoying his time doing consulting work and spending time with his family.
However, he said he simply couldn't walk away.
“I do support Republicans, but I can't walk away from this race when I see what's going on right now in the sheriff's office,” he said.
But not all Republican leadership is happy with Simpson's intended announcement.
Simpson took offense with a recent statement made by Loudoun GOP Chairman Mike Haynes that asked the potential candidate to support Chapman.
“I'm not an official candidate yet and they're already attacking me,” Simpson said.
Haynes statement called Simpson's anticipated run for office as an independent “very unfortunate and unacceptable.
“For the past few months Steve Simpson has been frequenting Loudoun Republican meetings, attending fundraisers and events and apparently trying to be part of the Republican Party again,” said Haynes in the statement. “For him to now be considering a run as an independent is very unfortunate and unacceptable."
“Four years ago the voters of Loudoun County made a change in the Sheriff's office and effectively removed Steve Simpson as Sheriff,” said Haynes. “At least part of the reason for his removal was that a few years earlier he had lost the Republican primary and then ran as an independent. Being a Republican has to mean something and you can't jump in and out of the Party to further your political career. Loudoun County voters want elected officials to stand for something and not just be in politics for selfish reasons."
“Steve Simpson is more than welcome in the Party if he is going to support our nominees like he promised to do in writing only a few short weeks ago by signing the Delegate filing form. But if he is going to run for office as an independent we will make every effort to defeat him in November just as we will the Democrat in the race."
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