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Forsyth Sheriff's candidate challenges opponent to debate

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office write-in candidate Lt. Col. David Townsend “D.T.” Smith and his supporters outside the county administration building in Cumming. (click for larger version)
September 24, 2012
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — A write-in candidate for Forsyth County sheriff challenged his opponent to a debate on the steps of the Forsyth County Administration Building Sept. 20.

Forsyth County Sheriff's Lt. Col. David Townsend "D.T." Smith has been recently certified by the election board as a write-in candidate.

Smith faces-off against former Forsyth County Sheriff's Lt. Duane Piper, who defeated incumbent Sheriff Ted Paxton in the Aug. 21 runoff election.

The election to decide the county's next sheriff and U.S. president is Nov. 6.

"I respect my opponent," said Smith. "We worked together on the SWAT team. I also respect the citizens of Forsyth County and that's why I am taking this opportunity to challenge him to a debate, so voters will have a chance to see us both in person, ask us questions and hear about our vision for the sheriff's office."

Smith later said he was hopeful the Forsyth County Tea Party or Tea Party Alliance would sponsor the debate.

Smith said by not entering the primary elections in July, he was keeping a promise he made to Paxton in 2000.

Smith lost to Paxton in the election that year and was later hired by Paxton with the promise he would not campaign against him in the future.

Smith kept that promise for 12 years, but when Paxton lost by about 300 votes, Smith saw an opportunity to realize his lifelong dream of becoming sheriff.

A 35-year law enforcement veteran, Smith spent 23 of those years in the trenches as police officer, deputy sheriff and first line supervisor. He also spent 12 years on the command staff in an executive position.

Two years ago, he was promoted to director of Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Headquarters Bureau.

Calls to Piper were not returned by our print deadline.

Visit for updates on this story.

FH 092612

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