Lawmakers Look To Close Loophole That Allowed Hege On The Ballot For Sheriff

Lawmakers Look To Close Loophole That Allowed Hege On The Ballot For Sheriff

5:11pm Mar 30, 2021
Gerald Hege listens during a meeting of the Davidson County Board of Elections in 2018 as he prepared to make another run for sheriff. PAUL GARBER/WFDD

State lawmakers are trying to close a loophole that allows some convicted felons to run for sheriff — a move that would block former Davidson County Sheriff Gerald Hege from running again.

Hege has pushed the boundaries to get his job back since an investigation of wrongdoing forced him out of office and left him with two felony convictions on his record.

He ran for his old seat in 2010, at a time when felons weren’t barred from becoming sheriffs in North Carolina. A state constitutional amendment changed that later that year, but it didn’t matter, as Hege was defeated in the Republican primary.

He ran again in 2018, saying he was eligible because his felony convictions had been expunged. The Davidson County elections board decided the language in the constitution was unclear and allowed him to be on the ballot.

He again failed to get past the primary, getting only 16 percent of the vote.

There are now bills in the state House and Senate that would clarify that all felons — even those with expungements — are ineligible for the sheriff’s position.

Hege is not specifically named in either bill.

A similar measure was filed in 2019 but did not become law.

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