Less than a week after saying he wanted to be sheriff, Mike Creed has decided against a bid for the office for undisclosed reasons.
That was the word Monday night from Roy Thomasson, who was elected as chairman of the Surry County Democratic Party at the group’s convention Saturday. Creed confirmed the announcement on Tuesday.
Creed, who retired last year as a lieutenant in the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, said last week that he would seek the Surry County sheriff’s post being vacated by Graham Atkinson later this month.
The vacancy was created when Atkinson tendered his resignation March 20, after deciding to accept an offer from Gov. Roy Cooper to take a position on the N.C. Post-Release and Parole Board. Atkinson’s resignation is effective April 28.
Since Atkinson is a Democrat, state law provides for the Surry County Democratic Executive Committee to choose his successor.
Atkinson made no bones about his choice to take the spot, throwing his support behind Chief Deputy Jimmy Combs, who has served with the office for more than 30 years.
However, Creed said last week he had some support within the ranks of the executive committee, and he was working to garner more. He said he received a number of phone calls from party leaders asking him to seek the appointment before making his decision to square off against Combs.
The 56-year-old White Plains resident said at that time if he was appointed, he would run for a full term in 2018, something he noted party leaders will expect of anyone they name to fill Atkinson’s unexpired term in office.
The sheriff, in casting his support to Combs, said his chief deputy also was prepared to run for a full term in 2018.
Thomasson noted both candidates for the appointment were invited to speak to the party on Saturday. Having backed out of the running, Creed did not take the party up on the offer.
Thomasson appeared before the Surry County Board of Commissioners Monday to say that Creed will not be seeking the office.
When reached Tuesday, Creed said he preferred not to issue any comment regarding his decision to withdraw his name from the running to replace Atkinson.
The party chair told the county board that Combs did speak at the convention. As of Monday evening, Combs was the only person in the running for the appointment.
The Democratic committee has 30 days from April 28 to recommend a replacement, and the county board is required by law to accept that recommendation as long as it is made within those 30 days.
According to Thomasson, the party will meet on April 25 at the historic courthouse in Dobson to vote on its recommendation. The commissioners can then rubber-stamp that choice at its next meeting after that.
During any gap between April 28 and the commissioners’ approval, an interim sheriff would be in charge. As the highest-ranking officer in the department, that would be Combs.