Ahrens, who is the only two-term chairman in Cherokee County history, made the announcement Monday night during a town hall meeting hosted by Commissioner Harry Johnston.
“There’re a lot of reasons for (running),” said Ahrens, who was elected first in 2007 and re-elected without opposition in 2010. “Cherokee’s got a lot of really good things going on. We got through the downturn stronger. We’ve got excellent leadership in our public safety, our parks, our county manager.”
With so many good things happening for Cherokee County, Ahrens said he wasn’t willing to give up his seat as the highest elected official in the county just yet.
“I’m proud to be associated with this,” said Ahrens, a former corporate executive and Yale University graduate. “And I hope that I’ll have another four years after next year’s election.”
Ahrens will, however, have to stand up against some competition if he wants to become the first chairman to serve three terms in office since the multi-member commission was created in 1989.
In April, former Holly Springs City Councilwoman Jackie Archer threw her name in the hat to take over Ahrens’ seat once his term ends at the end of 2014.
Both Ahrens and Archer are Republicans.
At the time, Archer said she was ready to “get to work” and continue serving Cherokee County, as she has in various roles in the past, partly as an advocate for bringing more awareness for lung cancer, of which she is a survivor.
On Tuesday, she said her resolve to take over the chairman position hadn’t wavered.
“I look forward, with great anticipation, to serving the needs of the citizens of Cherokee County with honesty and integrity,” said Archer, who has been a licensed Realtor for more than 20 years.
When asked about the competition, Archer said she was looking forward to having “a serious discussion with my opponent about the issues that are affecting the residents of Cherokee County.”
After hearing of Archer’s candidacy in April, Ahrens said he still hadn’t made up his mind about whether or not to run.
He said at the time that he would soon be 70 years old and cited the long list of duties the chairman must fulfill, which include sitting on many smaller governing boards in the community and attending all manner of events on behalf of the county.
“It is (a lot),” Ahrens said Monday night. “You can’t have a job.”
But Ahrens, who retired from a senior position at Rubbermaid, said he’s willing to take on the responsibility again, and he hopes to put aside politics along the way.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “This is about running a county business. I spent my entire career building businesses around the world.”
The tentative date for the general primary election in the race is May 20.