BRUNSWICK COUNTY — In just a few days Brunswick County will have a new sheriff. The county Democratic Executive Committee will decide Ron Hewett‘s successor Saturday. Just after Ron Hewetts resignation last month, 13 people came forward — each hoping to become the next sheriff of Brunswick County. Now several weeks later some people have changed their mind. Former Leland Mayor Franky Thomas withdrew his name. Brunswick County Democratic Party Chair Vernon Ward said, "He called me and said he would like his name withdrawn because with so many people running he thought it would be better for the party." Wiley Snow also pulled out. James Contreas had to drop out as well. Ward said, "He heard about this opening when he was on vacation in Myrtle Beach and he lived in New York and worked in New York and when he got the information from me he said I don’t think I meet the residency requirements do I? I said I don’t think so." Sam Davis, Tim Daniels and Don Warren have also backed out. Some candidates — still in the running — have to answer questions about their past. Chief Deputy of Brunswick County John Ingram came under scrutiny about his residency; he lived for a short time in Columbus County. "We feel very confidant that nothing will happen if challenged, because we feel that he meets all the requirements," Ward said. There’s also talk about county Board of Elections Chair Willie Sloan having been indicted for embezzlement back in 1993. Again, the Democratic party chair says it’s not an issue. "That’s irrelevant because he was found not guilty," Ward said. Other candidates still being considered are:
- Kyle Jones, a member of the sheriff’s drug enforcement unit
- Jerry Dove, Southport’s police chief
- Detective Jennifer Fisher of Holden Beach
- Walt Willis, former police chief of Southport
- Doug Todd, chief of the tri-beach Volunteer Fire Department in Supply
- Elizabeth Lewis, a former magistrate in Brunswick County
- Carlton Ebhardt, a retired US marshall.
Ward and the rest of the Democratic Party’s executive committee will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to select their choice for sheriff. The name will be given to the commissioners on Monday where state law says "they shall pick who the party has selected."