The noticeable weight loss and gaunt appearance of the former sheriff is being talked about around town. Many wonder if Heath is up to the demanding job of the top law enforcement position in the county, especially considering the fact that many his age are fully retired.
|Some say Heath looks gaunt and is too old to serve as sheriff|
There has been a lot of speculation that the heir-apparent to the sheriff's job was Major Charlie Williams.
"That's how it's always worked in the past," said one insider. "The job is handed off to a person chosen and groomed for the job, and then the establishment forms a campaign that is often unchallenged."
Insiders say that Williams, second in command at the sheriff's department, was obviously being groomed to become the next Tippecanoe County sheriff, but because of the bad publicity that his son, Charlie Williams, Jr., has received since threatening to kill a private citizen, those plans were derailed.
|A Republican Tradition: Passing the torch to the next friend in line|
"In the event that Heath would have to step down as sheriff, let's say for health reasons, he'd be in a position of power to choose his replacement," commented a political insider. "I predict that replacement would be Major Charlie Williams. If he can't get in through the front door, they'll make sure he comes in through the back."
There's also talk that Heath is not a full-time presence at his current job as director of the work release center. Insiders say that Heath delegates much of his responsibilities, which is also why there is much speculation that a potential second role as sheriff during his retirement-aged years would also require a lot of job delegation.
"They just don't want to give up their power," commented one insider. "It's arrogant to think they are the only ones who can provide law enforcement service to the public, but what they fear most is losing their power status. They're out in full force trying to discredit the opponent by smearing him and spreading false rumors. The FOP endorsement is a true indication of their desperation."
The brick wall Richard's opponents are having, however, is that it's hard to discredit someone who has been so visible and done so much good for the community. Richard, a George Award winner, has worked with junior high school students for the past two decades as a DARE officer. Hundreds of those students are now of voting age and many of them will be casting their first votes for their former mentor.
Barry was also recognized for cleaning up the blight at the former Green Acres apartment complex and turning the Boys & Girls Club into a thriving organization.
"No one can outwork Barry Richard," said one of his supporters. "And Barry's integrity speaks for itself."