The Davidson County Board of Elections voted to allow a controversial former sheriff to remain on the ballot for the May primary.

A standing-room-only crowd heard more than two hours of testimony and discussion before the board voted 3-1 to deny a challenge to former sheriff Gerald K. Hege's candidacy.

The issue was whether a felony record that had been expunged clears the way for a candidate to run for sheriff. The state constitution bars convicted felons from eligibility, based on an amendment passed by voters the same year as Hege's last run for office.

But board members were concerned that the language didn't directly address expunged records.

Hege served as sheriff for ten years but was ousted from office and ultimately pleaded guilty to two felony charges. He recently went through the process of removing the convictions.

He still has to convince voters he's the right man for the job. His last run for his former job ended in a landslide loss.

Hege is running in a packed GOP field that includes incumbent Sheriff David Grice as well as challengers Richie Simmons and Greg Wood.

No Democrats filed to run.

The primary is May 8.

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