Former state Alcohol Law Enforcement director John Ledford lost his bid to return to the position of Madison County sheriff on Tuesday.
Ledford lost in the Democratic primary to incumbent Sheriff Buddy Harwood, who received 62 percent of the vote. Harwood will face former state trooper Mike Gahagan in November.
Ledford served three terms as Madison County’s sheriff before joining ALE. He is embroiled in legal action with the agency, which he contends fired him because he was a Democrat and the new administration was Republican.
Ledford’s candidacy was in question after a challenge was filed claiming he was ineligible to run because he lives in Buncombe County. The Madison County and state boards of elections ruled he was eligible. An appeal of those decisions was pending, but is now moot.
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Ledford has been working for the Marshall Police Department as an auxiliary officer, according to The Asheville-Citizen Times.