Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman says he is considering a run for Virginia governor in 2021.
Chapman, a Republican, confirmed the news with the Times-Mirror Oct. 15 after he was listed as a potential candidate on Bearing Drift, a conservative blog.
“There’s no committal, I’m just examining what that would entail,” Chapman, who was re-elected to his third term as sheriff in November, said.
Should Chapman enter the race, he would join a crowded field of Republican candidates considering a run to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Among those are state Sen. Amanda Chase (R) and former Speaker of the Virginia House Kirk Cox.
Bob McDonnell, who finished his term at the start of 2014, was the last Republican to serve as governor. McDonnell was succeeded by Terry McAuliffe, who was succeeded by Northam.
The Loudoun sheriff’s consideration comes as county officials continue to study a possible change in the county’s form of government, including the establishment of a Loudoun County Police Department to largely replace the sheriff’s office.
A county police department would dramatically reduce the reach and scope of the sheriff’s office. Neighboring Fairfax County operates with a police department taking primary law enforcement duties across the county, while the sheriff’s office oversees courthouse security and oversight of the jail. It’s expected Loudoun would operate similarly, with a county police chief hired by the county administrator. The sheriff, in their reduced role, would still be elected.
Chapman has fervently opposed the idea, and he has touted the success of the sheriff’s office. A recent Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments report found Loudoun to have the lowest crime rate in the D.C. region.