NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – In one of the most closely watched races this primary, the current New Hanover County sheriff is facing his former boss in a primary.
WECT spoke to Ed McMahon and Sid Causey as they moved into the home stretch of this primary election. McMahon and Causey are both registered Democrats, and both have served as New Hanover County Sheriff. But as you can see in the excerpts from our interviews below, they are very different candidates.
"He turned out to be not the man I thought he was," Causey told us about his reason for coming out of retirement to try to unseat Sheriff McMahon. Ironically, Causey handpicked McMahon to be his successor when he announced his retirement in 2009.
Causey now says it's a decision he regrets."As soon as he was sworn in he wanted to start changing things…. He dismantled the drug unit that we had…He sold an $800,000 helicopter for $400,000, and then gave that money to the city… He raised all the captains to max pay. How much did that cost the taxpayers?"
Causey is upset about everything from Sheriff McMahon's equipment management to what he claims is low morale in the department. He says he also has concerns about the sitting sheriff's character. "To tell something that's not true flows very freely from his lips," Causey said.
Sheriff McMahon declined to go into detail about the various allegations made by his former boss. He stands by the decisions he's made as sheriff of New Hanover County, and he thinks the county is a safer and better place because of it.
"What I've been asking people to do is just look. Look at the sheriff's office in the past 5 years," McMahon said. "You are looking at two different choices, two different people. And my commitment to the community is, I'm going to continue moving law enforcement forward in a positive direction. Building bridges."
We will know by the end of the night whether voters want to go back to Sheriff Causey's way of doing things, or whether they like the changes Sheriff McMahon has put into place.
Whoever wins will go on to face the winner of the Republican Sheriff's primary, Marc Benson or Jason Vaughn. Both of those candidates are former New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies. Benson now works as a private detective and radio show host. Vaughn is a local attorney.