Columbus sheriff gets Nov. challenger - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Columbus sheriff gets Nov. challenger

Mike Edwards is an unaffiliated candidate running for Columbus County sheriff.  (Source: WECT) Mike Edwards is an unaffiliated candidate running for Columbus County sheriff. (Source: WECT)
Lewis Hatcher was appointed sheriff in January following Chris Batten’s resignation. (Source: WECT) Lewis Hatcher was appointed sheriff in January following Chris Batten’s resignation. (Source: WECT)
WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) -

Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher will have a challenger in November's General Election after all.

The county board of elections certified a petition Monday from unaffiliated candidate Mike Edwards after elections staff determined he had satisfied the requirements.

State law mandated that Edwards get signatures from at least 1,481 Columbus County voters, equal to four percent of the county's registered voters as of Jan. 1.

He turned in 1,568 valid signatures, according to Board of Elections Director Carla Strickland.

Edwards has worked 19 years in law enforcement, including at the Bladenboro Police Department and Columbus County Sheriff's Office. He is currently an officer with the Tabor City Police Department.

"The integrity and the ethics in Columbus County Sheriff's Office has suffered tremendously over the last few years, and I'd like to build that back up," Edwards said, explaining that he has considered running for more than two years.

"Deputies [are] not following through with investigations, not treating the public – the taxpaying public – with the courtesy they need to be treated with," he said. "You don't want someone to come, scratch out a report, keep looking at his watch and run right out the door."

Hatcher was not available for an interview Monday.

He handily won the Democrat primary in May after being appointed to the post in January following the resignation of former Sheriff Chris Batten.

No Republicans filed for the seat.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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