Hampden County Sheriff not seeking re-election

Michael Ashe has been Sheriff for nearly forty years

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe announced on Thursday he will not run for re-election after his current term ends in 2016.

Sheriff Ashe told 22News he wanted to give potential candidates enough time to get to know his position and the work he does.

He said he hopes someone with passion, commitment and knowledge will be elected.  As for his plans after his retirement Ashe said he wants to remain active in the community.

“You know I have a great, many interests in terms of our city and our county, and you know, how can I continue to make a difference in public safety area. Particularly in youth and prevention. These are the things I’m very interested in,” Michael Ashe said.

Ashe said he most likely will not be hosting the popular annual clam bake after 2016, but he hopes the next sheriff will continue that tradition.

In 2016, for the first time in nearly 40 years, there will be new names on the ballot for the office of Sheriff of Hampden County.

22News political consultant Tony Cignoli said many people are already considering running for the position, I’ve heard up to 20 different names who are seriously considering this race, so the unique thing about that is you’ve got 23 cities and towns to campaign in, and you’ve got 23 cities and towns worth of elected officials, politicians, that think they might have the ability to fill Mike Ashe’s shoes.”

Cignoli said finding a successor who can do what Ashe has accomplished as the Hampden County Sheriff would be a difficult task.