The 2014 race for Harford County Sheriff is off to an early start, and with more than two and a half years until Election Night, it could be a rematch.
Sheriff Jesse Bane, who won a close race in November 2010 over Republican challenger Jeff Gahler, said Friday that he plans to run again. Gahler himself stopped short of a formal announcement of his candidacy, but gave strong indication that he planned to face off against Bane once more.
In a wide-ranging interview, Bane said recent verbal sparring between the two men over statistics concerning the number of deputies available to protect public safety was the first, early skirmish between the likely electoral opponents.
“Mr. Gahler is going to run for sheriff. He’s already said he’s running for sheriff and they’re already having their campaign meetings,” Bane said. “This [Gahler’s first letter to the editor about the statistics] is one of the volleys that has been put out to discredit the sheriff of Harford County. Between in now and the election in 2014—-my God, I’m in the second year of my term, and I’m already having to worry about a guy out there campaigning against me, doing whatever he’s going to do. You will see more things [trying to] discredit the sheriff of Harford County as time goes on.”
Gahler said he planned to retire from the Maryland State Police after 28 years of service in the coming months.
“Although any formal announcement is still premature, I have made no secret of the fact that I would run for the Office of Sheriff in 2014 if the administration currently in place failed to put the needs of the County first and foremost,” Gahler said in an e-mail to The Dagger Sunday night. “Since election day in 2010 through today, there is little doubt that is the case.”
In the 2010 primary election, Gahler emerged from a field of Republican challengers which included Steven Bodway, Jack Meckley, and Roger Sheets. Bane claimed a close victory over Gahler on Election Night, claiming 51.6 percent of the vote to Gahler’s 48.2 percent.