Political notebook: Sheriff says he won't enter race for chairman's seat

The rumors can stop now.

"I have no plans to run for chairman," Butch Conway said Friday. "I'm the sheriff."

Conway, who won his third term as Gwinnett's top cop in 2004, said he did have discussions with people about a race for the head of the county commission. But he's declining to campaign for anything other than sheriff.

"I can't say there hasn't been discussions about it, but I'm sheriff and that's what I want to be," he said. "I enjoy it."

Lorraine Green, the District 1 commissioner who is "evaluating" a run for the county-wide chairmanship, said she talked to Conway about the idea.

"Butch is a very good friend of mine. We discuss a lot of things," she said.

If Conway had entered the race, Green said she might have reconsidered her own move.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the sheriff," she said. "It's going to be a very interesting year."

Actually, the chess pieces for the 2008 county elections will start to move this week, when candidates have to qualify for the 2007 municipal races.

At least one politician has promised to give up local office for a turn at a county race: Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter will seek Green's District 1 seat.

With both Suwanee Mayor Nick Masino and Lilburn Mayor Jack Bolton dropping out of this year's ballots and other races in the county, the political scene could look different by January.

For a last glimpse at some of the those mayors in action, come to Thursday's meet-the-mayors forum at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. The event is schedule for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Duluth chamber building.

On Monday, residents can also meet their local congressman. U.S. Rep. John Linder has planned a town hall meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

According to e-mails sent last week, Democrats plan to come out to challenge the Republican congressman on issues.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com .