Attending were virtually all the Chambers County commissioners, Chambers County DA Cheryl Lieck, many upper level Texas DPS officials, and state senators such as Tommy Williams, John Whitmire, and Mike Jackson.

To a standing ovation from an audience of at least 240 – including state senators, Chambers elected officials and state police elite — retiring DPS trooper Brian Hawthorne formally announced his candidacy for sheriff Thursday night.

The comments were made at Hawthorne’s retirement party at Royal Purple Raceway. 

“One person can’t do it all – it takes a group,” Hawthorne said after the hearty applause died down. “I will continue to do the same thing, play the same role, I have played with the state of Texas.”

Hawthorne is seeking the seat that will be vacated by Sheriff Joe LaRive, a controversial politician who recently announced in an e-mailed press release that he would not seek re-election in 2012.

LaRive has been haunted by recent controversy, including his longtime jailer recently being indicted for sexual abuse then fired in a case that was allegedly ignored by two members of his own department for 16 months. 

LaRive has point blank denied the controversy hanging over him has had anything to do with his decision. 

LaRive said he would finish his second term – which ends Dec. 31, 2012 – but will not run for the 2013 term. 

Meanwhile, Hawthorne, 27-year Texas Department of Public Safety veteran, was recently special assistant to the Texas DPS director.

Hawthorne’s most recent performed temporary duty was in Austin with the DPS director’s office. There, he assisted in providing requested information to state legislators and their staff regarding law enforcement and homeland security issues.

And many of the people who appreciated his work on that assignment – such as state senator Tommy Williams, honored him at his retirement.

Hawthorne, who is married to Chambers County Clerk Heather Hawthorne told the audience he has filed as an Republican candidate for Chambers County Sheriff with Christy Gobert of the county clerk’s Mont Belvieu office.

The audience, incidentally, was a veritable “Who’s Who” of county and state officials, past and present. 

There was retiring Judge Carol Wilburn, who delivered warm parting comments about Hawthorn.