Mike Jewell, a field commander in the Sheriff’s Depatment and a Bartlett alderman who entered the sheriff’s race last year with virtually wall-to-wall support from Bartlett city officials, on Wednesday became the first major dropout from the race to succeed outgoing incumbent A.C.Gilless.

Jewell indicated he will also eschew reelection this year and leave the Bartlett Board of Alderrmen after the completion of his current term on December 31st.

“It’s just been too rough raising money,” Jewell said of his decision to drop her sheriff's race in mid-afternoon of a day which began with his waking to the aftermath of a snowstorm and drawing certain conclusions he suddenly saw as overdue.

“I looked out the window and saw all that snow, and it just clicked,” Jewell said. “I said to myself, ‘You know, there’s no need dragging this thing out any further.’ It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out.”

Jewell hinted that he might choose to intervene in the sheriff’s race at some later point with an endorsement but chose to keep his options to himself for the time being. “I will say this,” Jewell reflected. “I’ve talked to enough people to know that the public isn’t going to want to vote for anybody who’s in the department right now.”

In effect, Jewell was disqualifying everybody except county Corrections administrator Mark Luttrell, running as a Republican, and city councilman E C Jones. a Democratic contender. Other candidates are Republicans Bobby Simmons, a captain who heads up the department’s DUI operations, and Chief Deputy Don Wright, .who carries the reputation, for better or for worse, of being Gilless’ right-hand man.; and Democrat Randy Wade, another ranking departmental chief.

Given Jewell’s longtime activity in Republican ranks, including several years on the local GOP’s steering committee and a stint as party vice chairman, he is likely to come out at some point for Luttrell.

Jewell preferred not to address the issue for the record on Wednesday , but he publicly expressed resentment some months ago that, shortly after announcing his candidacy, he was assigned to prisoner transport duties on a 2 p.m. to midnight shift which precluded much effective campaigning. His imputation then was that politics was at the root of his reassignment

Having shed his candidate's mantle and decided also to leave the Board of Aldermen after this year, Jewell said one reason for both decisions was that he would now be able to concentrate on "my granddaughter, the Bible, and bluegrass music, all of which I love, even though, as far as the last thing goes, I may be the world's worst banjo-player."

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