Lee Sheriff Mike Scott files for 2012 re-election bid

Mike Scott, Lee County Sherriff, on NewsMakers

Mike Scott, Lee County Sherriff, on NewsMakers

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Mike Scott’s re-election campaign is official.

From the sound of it, he already has a slogan: Crime down, budget down.

Scott filed paperwork last week with the Lee County Supervisor of Elections to seek a third term as Lee County sheriff, quietly becoming the fourth candidate in the 2012 race.

Scott said he has two pillars of his re-election campaign: A history of cutting the budget while maintaining services, and overseeing a drop in the crime rate each of the past three years.

"Not to oversimplify it, but crime is down and the budget is down," Scott said. "The economy is very troubled still. Looking back, we’ve really been able to manage the fiscal side of the house and keep that crime number in check."

Since 2008, the Sheriff’s Office has slashed $17 million from its budget, largely through buyouts. The most recent budget proposal had a $6.3 million, or 4.2 percent, reduction.

According to Uniform Crime Report data, which is compiled and submitted by the Sheriff’s Office, the serious crime rate has dropped 22 percent in its jurisdiction between 2008 and 2010. UCR data doesn’t include crimes that go unreported.

Scott said there was no hesitation in seeking a third term.

"I’m happy to run on my record, I’m fairly young, approaching 49, and I keep in good health and am full of energy," Scott said.

In his three primary and general elections since 2004, Scott has won each with at least 62 percent of the vote.

To date, two challengers have filed to face Scott in the August 2012 Republican primary. Lee County sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Fisher will oppose his boss, and Lee Bushong, a private investigator and former Sheriff’s Office lieutenant, has filed to run for the first time. Christian Meister, who received 25 percent of the general election vote in 2008, has filed to run as an independent.

Scott, however, doesn’t want to enter the political fray yet.

"Part of my strategy is I’m not going to discuss the other candidates," Scott said. "I’m not going to get into this back-and-forth. I don’t think the people want that."

Scott said he has mailed about 1,000 notices to friends and supporters of his intention to run again.

"I feel I have a lot of community support," Scott said. "Our men and women make me look good every day, and within reason, I’ve done some things to make myself look good."

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