Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie, a Republican, was the fifth person in line to qualify early Tuesday. Just a few places behind him stood a competitor, the current constable for Districts 4 and 5, Buck Roberts.
Roberts says after 30 years of taking care of the people within his district, he would like the chance to help those living in other areas of Lauderdale County.
"We need to get back to the old form of law enforcement, getting out and meeting the people. That is what I plan to bring to the table," said Roberts, also a Republican.
As far as Sollie's approach to re-election goes, he said he believes his experience and reputation as sheriff will give him an extra leg up on his competition.
"We have 15 years of experience with the sheriff's department and we have 20 years of experience with Meridian Police Department ," said Sollie. "So we are approaching 35 years of experience, over half of that at the administrative, top level."
With the recent verbal attacks made on Sheriff Sollie by District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell, rumors have circulated that the race for sheriff could get ugly. However, both candidates say they plan on sticking with clean, straight-to-the-point political campaigns.
"I am planning on running a clean campaign. Sheriff Sollie has indicated to me that he plans on doing the same," said Roberts. "What happened, happened, but I am not going to dwell on it."
"At this time I have no idea what my competition may do," said Sollie. "Whether or not they use anything that occurred in a board meeting, or what they plan to use. So we plan to just sit back and listen and counter anything they have to say."
Only time will tell how the race to the sheriff's office will unfold, but for now both men stand firm to their belief that the campaign should be based solely on what is best for the people of Lauderdale County.
Roberts and Sollie will meet in the GOP Primary Aug. 2. Other candidates may enter the race. Tuesday was the first qualifying day of 2011, but the deadline for candidates to file is the end of the business day Mar. 1.