William Polhemus, the 81-year-old Ocean County Sheriff, announced yesterday that he’ll seek re-election to a ninth term – six years after suggesting that he was ready to retire. There’s a strong chance that he’ll face a challenge in the Republican primary from a faction that won 45% of the vote in the 2008 primary for countywide office. And his decision to run isn’t good news for several career law enforcement officials – and possibly for Freeholder (and ’08 congressional candidate Jack Kelly) — who have been eyeing part support for Sheriff under the assumption that Polhemus would step down.
Incumbent Sheriffs rarely lose re-election, although Democrat Jim McGettigan did lose his bid for a fifth term as Atlantic County Sheriff last month. In Bergen County, Republican Joel Trella lost to Democrat Leo McGuire in 2004, and in 1992, Morris County Sheriff John Fox lost the Republican primary to Edward Rochford.
In 1994, then Camden County Democratic Chairman George Norcross tossed Sheriff Bill Simon off the organization line. Simon ran as a Republican and lost to Mike McLaughlin.