BELLAIRE — Longtime state Rep. Triston Cole will toss his hat in a new race — this time, his sights are set on Antrim County sheriff.

He’ll face off against seated Sheriff Dan Bean, who has served the northern Michigan county as sheriff for 12 years.

Bean welcomes the challenge.

“Anybody can run for the office,” he said Tuesday.

Cole has represented Michigan’s 105th District — Antrim, Otsego, Charlevoix, Montmorency and Oscoda counties — since 2014.

He’s term-limited from again running for the seat.

A press release cites Cole’s experience in the House of Representatives and as a small business owner as boons to a potential stint as Antrim County sheriff. He’s also served on the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee — Cole’s only law enforcement experience. He said Tuesday that management experience and better connections with his team and the community are more important focuses, however, and that undersheriffs are largely the ones managing law enforcement-focused business.

Cole said his goals include instituting a more team-focused atmosphere at the office and bringing forth better outreach to the community and to Antrim’s other elected officials.

“Something that I’ve excelled at within my current position as majority floor leader is reaching out and listening to the community,” Cole said. “I want to make sure now more than ever that the Constitution is upheld and individual rights and liberties are protected.”

Other past roles include president of the Antrim County Farm Bureau and several other lower-level leadership roles.

Cole said he feels good about his chances, and said he chose to run at the urging of several Antrim County residents who’ve called in to request he vie for the seat.

Incumbent Bean touts a near-lifelong career in law enforcement — as of May 2020 he’ll mark 38 years in the field. Those decades have been served exclusively within Antrim County.

He feels confident the community will rally behind him and said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished as both sheriff and as undersheriff before that.

“I think that, administratively, we’ve done a nice job,” Bean said. “We’ve brought the department up to where it’s well-respected within our community. Our guys work hard to be fair in what they do.”

The race between the pair of Republican candidates will be decided in the Aug. 4 primary election.

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