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March 26, 2015

Tarr withdraws from race for GOP sheriff nomination

I thought a lot about it over the last couple of weeks and decided now was not the time. In the best interest of the department, I didn't want to create tension within the department, working for Charlie Ray and running against him.
— Bobby Tarr
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Eight days after announcing his candidacy, Bobby Tarr this week withdrew from the Republican primary for Fauquier sheriff.

A corporal and 22-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, Mr. Tarr informed the Fauquier County Electoral Board of his decision in a two-sentence letter late Tuesday:

“Please accept this letter as my formal announcement that I am withdrawing my candidacy in seeking the office of Sheriff of Fauquier County at this time.

“I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but I would like to thank you and your staff for all the assistance provided to me with preparing my initial paperwork to prepare for this election.”

In a highly unusual situation, the first-time candidate continued to work as the Marshall Middle School “resource officer” under Sheriff Charlie Ray Fox Jr., the man he proposed to unseat.

“I thought a lot about it over the last couple of weeks and decided now was not the time,” Mr. Tarr, an Orlean resident, said Thursday. “In the best interest of the department, I didn't want to create tension within the department, working for Charlie Ray and running against him.”

About 70 people attended the challenger’s campaign kickoff Sunday afternoon, March 15, in Warrenton.

In an interview that day, he called the sheriff “very personable, a super nice guy. I consider him a close friend.”

Tuesday night, Mr. Tarr called the sheriff to tell him about the withdrawal.

The change leaves a clear path for Bob Mosier to the Republican nomination without running in the GOP primary on Tuesday, June 9.

Mr. Mosier will face Sheriff Fox, a Democrat seeking a fourth term, in the Nov. 3 general election.

Mr. Tarr admitted he feels “relieved” after deciding to withdraw from the race but still has aspirations to serve as sheriff.

“I just want to thank everybody who supported me and let them know that I will make certain that I return every (financial) contribution,” he added. “Perhaps, four years from now, I will be better prepared” to run.

For Mr. Mosier, avoiding a primary will save his campaign some money.

Beyond that, “it doesn’t change anything,” he said Thursday afternoon. “We just have to continue to get our message out there.”

The Republican nominee said he welcomes any of Mr. Tarr’s backers, “interested in positive change in law enforcement to join us.”

Battling a severe case of bronchitis and other health issues this week, Sheriff Fox couldn’t be reached for comment.

As of Thursday morning, the GOP primary has two contested races:

• John Marshall Cheatwood challenging incumbent Gail Barb for circuit court clerk.

• Rick Gerhardt challenging incumbent Lee Sherbeyn for Cedar Run District supervisor.

A candidate for the primary must file by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 26.
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