A campaign dinner rally for Upshur County Sheriff Anthony Betterton drew an estimated crowd of about 500 Thursday to the Yamboree Exhibit Building, where the sheriff asked support in his bid for reelection to a fourth term.
Some 473 persons signed in, said Michele Griffith, who was among those registering attendees and who estimated the total crowd at about 500. She said people continued arriving even after the scheduled 7 p.m. end of the event.
Speaking for only about five minutes, Betterton told the audience that both he and his employees are running for reelection and that he is asking "to serve each and every one of y'all."
"We have to vote," he said. Betterton said people tell him that he's been in office since 2001 and that "you'll be there till the end of time," but "Folks, it doesn't work that way. . .We at the Sheriff's Office need your help."
"Get your friends and neighbors out to vote," he urged.
Betterton noted he had been in law enforcement since 1981. He said that when he became a Gilmer city police officer, he had to borrow a gun because he had grown up in a single-parent household where firearms weren't allowed.
He also said he went to buy bullets at a store where the clerk refused to sell them to him because, although he was a police officer, he was only 19 years old when the required minimum age to purchase was 21. He said he had to get then-Gilmer Police Chief James DeCuir to purchase the ammunition.
Betterton noted that two area sheriffs, Alan McCandless of Camp County and Maxey Cerliano of Gregg County, had come to show their support for him during their own political seasons.
He was introduced by Mark Moore after Riley Pate led the invocation and Becky Morris sang "America the Beautiful." Boy Scout Troop 314 presented the American flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Betterton has three challengers in the May 29 Republican primary: Greg Mandreger, Larry Webb and Donald Willleford.