Stoffregen’s remarks rile GOP chief

The head of the Prince William County Republican Committee issued what he called an “ultimatum” Tuesday to Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen III for remarks the Democratic incumbent made about his Republican challenger, Col. Glendell Hill, during his Friday night re-election announcement.

“I am deeply offended that Lee Stoffregen would start out of the campaign gate calling Col. Glen Hill a puppet,” Bruce Baxter said in a written statement. “The name calling must stop,” he said.

The county’s Republican Committee said if Stoffregen did not stop his attacks, then voters would have a new sheriff come November.

Stoffregen made a number of references to his opponent during his announcement but never mentioned Hill by name.

He didn’t mention Hill’s name in any of them, although he is the only candidate to come out against Stoffregen in what is expected to be a down and dirty race.

In addition to referring to Hill as a “puppet,” Stoffregren said Hill had a “go-along-to-get-along management style.”

Hill, who is the superintendent of the Prince William-Manassas regional jail, could not be reached Tuesday.

The fact that the sheriff began the race with attacks means that he is afraid of Hill, and realizes he is stiff competition, Baxter said.

“The sheriff is resorting to name calling, as opposed to talking about how he’s going to take the county forward,” said Christopher Suprun, county Republican Party spokesman. “Col. Hill is trying to talk about issues.”

“I find that a little bit amusing,” Stoffregen said of the criticism.

Stoffregen, who said Hill is taking the county backward, said Tuesday he has a tremendous amount of respect for his opponent.

“He’s a fine person,” Stoffregen said, explaining that anyone who thought he didn’t respect Hill would “absolutely be drawing the wrong conclusion.”

But that doesn’t change his view of the race.

“He’s going to have to grow up and learn the rules of the game,” Stoffregen said. “He’s running for a countywide elected position. He’s not running a little jail. So, the job responsibilities are going to change dramatically.”

Stoffregen says he doesn’t “care what the Republicans think” about his attacks. “I’m running a race based on the community. He wants to take politics out of the office. This is a political office.”

But Republicans were not buying the sheriff’s assertions, claiming his ambitions have little to do with law-enforcement or community service.

“I think what [Stoffregen] is saying is ‘I want to expand my empire and the board of supervisors is unwilling to do what I tell them,'” Suprun said.

“Col. Hill has spoken already about wanting to cooperate with the police. It appears that Sheriff Stoffregen wants to be the only game in town.”

Suprun called Stoffregen’s comments about Hill “inappropriate.”

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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