BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Voters in Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties will have a couple of candidates to choose from in next year's Republican Primary for district attorney.
At last night's Brunswick County Republican Party meeting, defense attorney Ryan Smithwick announced his intention to challenge incumbent Jon David.
"Next spring in the Republican Primary I will be vying for the office of district attorney for the three counties," Smithwick said.
After rising through the ranks as an assistant district attorney in Mecklenburg County Smithwick entered private practice in Shallotte. Now he has decided to throw his hat in the ring to challenge David at the urging of several judges, politicians, and law enforcement officials.
"There was quite a bit of encouragement from some of my colleagues at the courthouse," Smithwick. "It wasn't something that I had thought about too much. After several local officials and some law enforcement asked me to consider it, it's just the right time to do it. We need a change."
Many in the Republican Party were surprised at Smithwick's announcement, because he has only been a member of the GOP since 2011. However he says this is not a political ploy, but a call to action.
"It doesn't take much research to look at all of the three counties that are involved and look at how we're not using our courtroom time effectively," Smithwick said. "We're not disposing of cases efficiently. As we all know when that doesn't happen more and more crime continues to come from that so we need to dispose of cases better."
We spoke to David by phone today about Smithwick's announcement. The incumbent said he would wait until the february filing date to address any potential challengers.