There’s an old adage that says when you get thrown off a horse you need to get back in the saddle right away, and it’s now looking a lot like former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes has adopted that philosophy: Sources close to Barnes say he is strongly considering running for mayor of Summerfield this year.
Barnes, a Republican who served as the sheriff of Guilford County for nearly a quarter of a century before losing that seat in November to Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers, said immediately after that loss that he might very well run for office again. At that time, he suggested running for mayor of Summerfield as a possibility.
On Thursday, March 7 – amid strong rumors that Barnes would do just that – the former sheriff would not confirm that he is running for the seat but he did acknowledge he was considering it.
“I have had many people ask me to run,” Barnes said. “I am giving it some thought.”
Barnes said it certainly is the case that right now Summerfield needs a mayor who can help guide the town through the rough patch it’s been going through lately.
“We have got to get this town headed back in the right direction,” Barnes said.
Since 2017, two political factions in Summerfield have been at war over everything from development and zoning questions to whether the Town Council should serve a cake at the council meeting in December.
The main dispute centers largely around the removal of former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck, who lost his seat on the council in April 2018 after the Guilford County Board of Elections determined he didn’t live in Summerfield. Summerfield’s current mayor, Gail Dunham, has been critical of the way the Summerfield Town Council and town staff have handled the matter.
Dena Barnes, the wife of the former sheriff who serves on the Summerfield Town Council and has served as mayor of Summerfield before, said Summerfield citizens have told her they want to see BJ Barnes in that race.
“I have had people say, ‘Tell your husband to run,’” she said.
She said that they had also encouraged him to run for the US Senate but she added that her husband doesn’t really care much for Washington DC.