Race for Buncombe County Sheriff sets up a history-making general election

Buncombe County Sheriff candidate, Quentin Miller. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

The race for sheriff in Buncombe County takes a new twist and sets up a history-making general election this November.

Quentin Miller, a current Asheville Police Sergeant, won the democratic nomination in Tuesday's primary. Miller won more than 53-percent of the vote.

If Miller defeats republican Shad Higgins and libertarian Tracey Debruhl, he'll become the first African-American to hold the office of Buncombe County Sheriff.

Shad Higgins says he doesn't have law enforcement experience but he says being a business owner gives him a better perspective to be able to handle the job.

He says there are two big issues he's focusing on: school safety and the drug epidemic.

He says he's going to work to find a place in the budget for more SRO’s to keep schools safe and crack down on the drug epidemic in Buncombe County.

Higgins says he feels stiffer crimes need a stiffer penalty, giving this analogy, “if you have a small pond out back here and you go catch all the little fish out of the, the big fish are going to dry with nothing to feed on and that's what we need to focus on, street level crime in Buncombe County.”

Quentin Miller, the democratic candidate for sheriff, says he’s running on several issues, including modernizing the force and instill de-escalation training.

"This is about changing the mindset of not only law enforcement from that of being warriors to that of being guardians and from that of being intimidators to that of being protectors.”

He beat out four other Democrat candidates, winning the primary Tuesday night and moving forward to potentially become the county's first black sheriff.

"I really can't put that into words, but I will tell you this, it's not just about being the first minority. It's about being the right candidate at this time," he said.

Tracey DeBruhl is running on the libertarian ticket.

Helping the homeless, school safety and drug enforcement are part of his platform.

"We need a new branding. we need a face that the community can trust and believe in. That's why you see me come as I am. I ain't putting no dog and pony show. I ain't shaving it up. What you get is what you see," said DeBruhl.

He says his military background allowed him to train with other law enforcement officers.

The three will face off in the general election in November.

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