JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama residents are just over a month away from election day and one of the local races that is sparking interest is the race for Jefferson County Sheriff.

The race is an intriguing matchup with a historic candidate on one side and a Navy Seal on the other.

Back in 2018, Mark Pettway defeated Sheriff Mike Hale and became the first Black sheriff in Jefferson County history. Seeking re-election, Pettway hopes to build on the accomplishments of his historic first term.

”I’m proud of the work that the deputies have done the last four years. Our crime is trending down, our violent crimes are down, we are excited about the work they are doing and we will continue to work to make sure crime continues to decrease in Jefferson County,” Pettway said.

Jared Hudson is running to unseat Pettway. Hudson has served in law enforcement since 2013, including a stint as a deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, a reserve deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and, prior to that, serving as a Navy Seal.

“Formerly a Navy Seal, we hunt terrorists all over the world. We can hunt criminals in Jefferson County. I would target crime. Jefferson County’s 10% higher than the national average in violent crime and 20% higher in property crime,” said Hudson.

Pettway and Hudson have different ideas on how the crime fight is going in Jefferson County, but the candidates do agree, this election will be important for the future of law enforcement in Jefferson county. 

For Pettway, he is hoping for more of the same.

”We are going in the right direction. We are doing the right things. We are protecting the people, making this the safest county in the state of Alabama,” he said.

While Hudson feels his “can-do” attitude will make his own mark on the job.

“My job as sheriff will be to uphold your constitutional rights and enforce the law impartially across the board and that’s what I will do. I don’t intend to do it, I will do it and it’s about getting the right man for the job and I believe I’m that guy,” Hudson said.

The election will take place Nov. 8.