Politics

Sheriff’s Wife Running Unopposed After Filing For Husband’s Position

Beth Tolson files for sheriff of York County …

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On April Fools’ Day, the wife of an incumbent South Carolina sheriff filed to run against her husband – except it wasn’t a joke. Nor was it tied to any domestic dispute. Rather, the announcement was based on the sheriff’s determination to withdraw from the race and pursue broader endeavors across the United States.

According to York County sheriff Kevin Tolson, his decision to withdraw from the uncontested election came last week — when he was invited to co-found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the mental health of his extended law enforcement family.

“Helping officers has been my calling since 2018,” said Tolson, who filed for re-election just over two weeks ago. “I was offered the opportunity to start law enforcement assistant programs in 36 states that don’t have them … It’s going to be through a nonprofit called USA Leap.”

Modeled after the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program (SCLEAP), USA Leap is expected to service the psychological needs of law enforcement officers and their families following critical incidents.

“I’m going to withdraw this week,” the now-outgoing sheriff confirmed on Monday during an interview with this media outlet. “But the department is full after hiring a clinical psychologist … I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but we are full and we have people wanting to come work for us. That’s incredible.”

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Come 11:17 a.m. on Monday – less than forty-five minutes prior to the deadline for candidates to file in partisan primary elections in South Carolina – Tolson’s wife Beth Bryant Tolson submitted paperwork to run as a Republican for the highest law-enforcement officer of York County.

No one else filed, meaning Tolson is the only candidate on the November ballot.

“I would never be critical of my husband,” Beth told FITSNews on Monday. “My husband will have served eight years as the sheriff of York County in January. But when he was presented with this opportunity to start these organizations … we sort of just looked at each other.”

The daughter of former York County sheriff and former state representative Bruce Bryant, Beth has served as a senior investigator with the S.C. sixteenth circuit solicitor’s office since transferring from the sheriff’s office upon her husband’s election in 2016.

“My dad was sheriff for 20 years and left a legacy for my husband,” Beth said. “I know the heartbeat of the sheriff’s office and I know the ins and outs. I’m not going to say that I know everything, but I feel like I’m pretty qualified … More than anybody else to run this agency.”

If elected following her husband’s withdrawal, Beth will become South Carolina’s second female sheriff following the 2020 victory of Kristin Graziano in Charleston County — the first openly LGBTQ+ sheriff in Palmetto State history.

As for the Tolsons? They remain “happily married” following 27 years in unison — and look forward to the next phases of their law enforcement careers. 

The York County sheriff is a four-year term and pays an annual salary of $194,261 while managing approximately 350 employees, according to public records made accessible through GovSalaries.

This story may be updated.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Andrew Fancher (Travis Bell)

Andrew Fancher is a Lone Star Emmy award-winning journalist from Dallas, Texas. Cut from a bloodline of outlaws and lawmen alike, he was the first of his family to graduate college which was accomplished with honors. Got a story idea or news tip for Andy? Email him directly and connect with him socially across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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4 comments

wtaylor201828001 Top fan April 2, 2024 at 9:17 pm

Three consecutive sheriffs from the same family? Hmm, who does that remind you of?

Reply
Simon Templar Top fan April 3, 2024 at 9:32 am

Sounds like a great family tradition.

Reply
dwb619 Top fan April 4, 2024 at 2:35 pm

Vote NO on dynasty’s-regardless of party affliaction !

Reply
Mr Bland Top fan April 5, 2024 at 9:56 am

Mighty strange how it was done at the last minute. Good Ole Bruce Bryant keeping it all in the family. Well time will tell.

Reply

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