WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There may be a new sheriff in town come November. Or make that an old one.
Sid Causey's 2009 retirement opened the door for Ed McMahon to take over as New Hanover County Sheriff. In fact, Causey hand-picked and endorsed his then chief deputy.
"I did, and I apologize for that," Causey said today.
Back in 2009 Causey said McMahon would be the best choice for the job.
"I'm telling you, if he wasn't the man, I would not be supporting him," Causey said at the time.
But he sang a different tune Monday.
"He is a good man. He is not the right man for the sheriff's job," Causey said.
Causey says things at the department have gone downhill since his retirement.
"The lack of school protection, the crime is just out of control regardless of what somebody says about the crime being down," the former sheriff said. "That is just absolutely not true."
But McMahon disagrees. He says the partnerships he and his staff have developed are working.
"Violent crime is down," McMahon said.
And as he faces a challenge from the man who helped put him in office, the sitting sheriff is trying to keep an optimistic view.
"On a personal note, very disappointing, but it's not about me. It's not about a man," McMahon said. "It's about keeping the community safe, and it's about moving forward in our law enforcement."
The men will fight it out in the Democratic primary May 6.
Causey ran for New Hanover County Commissioner in 2010, but finished behind winners Rick Catlin and Brian Berger and fellow Democrat Deb Butler, who finished third.