ONLY ON 3: Benson & Vaughn debate in GOP race for New Hanover Co. Sheriff

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Submitted: Wed, 04/30/2014 - 1:32am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — They are both former New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies. One is an attorney. The other a private investigator and radio host.

Who do you think will be the best GOP candidate for New Hanover County Sheriff against Democrat incumbent Ed McMahon or former Sheriff Sid Causey?

Marc Benson and Jason Vaughn discussed their ideas and key issues during a live, 30-minute debate tonight on WWAY NewsChannel 3. You can watch the whole debate above.


  • guest111 says:

    Do you know Benson has more votes than Causey on the WWAY election monitor? You never know. Elections and politics are strange times.

  • AntiBullying says:

    That is the point of being elected, to have open filing and be informed of issues that may be serious, or whether the best man or woman is already in the job! Keeps powerful office honest! Stop trying to stop citizens rights to choose! You sound like Sid Causey or his family members.

  • jj says:

    I know Ricky Meeks and I think a lot of him and I have voted for him every time he has ran for office. Why? Listen to him. He know what the problems are and he isn’t out to put money in his pockets like most of the people running for office.

    The problem with most of you is that you haven’t taken the time to listen to what Ricky has to say. If you will take the time, you will find that he is a lot smarter than you give him credit. I also believe he is smarted than most of the people running for office.

    Ricky wants to help people and not put money in his pocket…

  • Chad H says:

    I am amazed at the amount commentary and coverage regarding the current and former New Hanover County Sheriff’s. Crime continues escalate and evolve, yet the people of New Hanover county continue to talk about and elect the same people from election to election. Fighting crime and enforcing laws needs to grow and change just to keep up with the rapidly expanding criminals, gangs, and other habitual law violators. I hope that everyone really takes a look at what “kinds” of experience the candidates are bring to the table. Mr Jason Vaughn possesses a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in several different aspects of law and law enforcement, which I think will provide New Hanover County with a much needed intellectual and hands-on approach. Although he may argue my next point; he is young and hungry to make positive change to reduce, and eliminate crime. Please get serious about learning about each candidate.

  • Jessica says:

    Marc Benson seems to be the most straight forward non sugar coating canidate there is. He is going to attack the “bad guys” both on and off the street. Citizens and those in uniform. He isn’t trying to mask anything to ensure his job. He is just like us citizens. He just like the people know where the crime is and knows where the funding is being WASTED! And stuff has got to change.

  • Wilmington Truth Teller says:

    If Vaughn is half as good at being sheriff, as he is fighting for DWI suspects. He will be one heck of a sheriff.

  • Gramps1945 says:

    I’ve known Ricky Meeks for over 20 years. He walks around town, all day, dresses sharply, and seems to always be on time. I do not know why he claims to be disabled. I have talked with him several times. And he’s not nearly as dumb, or innocent, as he wants everyone to think he is. I am not fooled by him. And I will not vote for him.

  • rj says:

    Clearly, Jason is the best choice for sheriff. Benson seems to be all talk, but will he really go through with what he promises? What does a radio host know about solving crimes? Vaughn is an attorney and knows how to fix the problem AND make a solution.

  • taxpayer too says:

    Jessica, Did we see the same debate. Marc Benson and Jason Vahaun both were vague on their answers. He said he’d do away with waste, but also stated he’d have to take a good look at the budget to see where the waste is at, in other words, he’s making assumptions before he’s even seen the budget. You can’t make a blanket statement without having the facts first. Marc Benson talks a big talk, but talk is cheap. The problem we have now is lack of trust in any politician simply because they are great at making promises and running their mouth, but we later find out their words were hollow.
    We will never get good people in office until we as voters stop jumping on a bandwagon before thinking thru the issues and closely examining the candidates before they cast their vote.

  • taxpayer says:

    Have you EVER seen an attorney who knows how to fix ANY problem let alone have a solution?

    Marc is a former New Hanover County deputy (20 years plus a graduate of the 180th Session of the FBI National Academy), current private investigator, and not in the pocket of ANY politician or political group.

    Spend some time comparing/contrasting the qualifications of Marc versus Jason instead of simply referring to Marc as a “radio host.”

  • The Unknown Truth Teller says:

    We need to make a new law……..
    If you have filed for office, three times, and lost. You cannot file again, in New Hanover County.

    Years ago we had Robert Kendrick, Jack White, and Randy Crow. Now we have Marc Benson, and Ricky Meeks. Elections are serious business. This is not a cute novelty, or joke. It’s not a clever publicity stunt. It’s serious business. Or, should I say, DEADLY SERIOUS BUSINESS.

    Eight months ago, local law enforcement was up to it’s neck in alligators. A brave Vice Detective was shot, in the line of duty, chasing a drug dealer. Both Police and Sheriff units bravely subdued life-threatening criminals, using deadly force. All this seemed to happen in less then a month. It was a extremely high pressure situation.

    Sheriff McMahon and Chief Evangelous, along with District Attorney David, stood tall behind these officers, and their performance of their duties, to protect us. And we weathered the storm, with flying colors.

    Sooner or later, this is going to happen again. Could you imagine Marc Benson, or Ricky Meeks, having to be final decision makers, in these matters ? Much less, leading, and taking charge ?

    Voting, and running for office are valuable rights. But after getting skunked three times. Any normal person would get the message. I feel this is an abuse of the election process.

    Phoenix had two dozen of these Also-Ran, hams. Each election they would put their names on everything. Higher filing costs, and lengthy nomination petitions, cured most of that problem. Perhaps the good people of the New Hanover County Board of Elections, need to do likewise.

  • taxpayer says:

    What we need, is for the Feds to start enforcing the current laws with regards to illegal immigrants. This is a much larger problem than your concerns over how many times an individual runs for office.

  • Erlkoenig says:

    They call them “free elections”. You should read up on them sometime.

  • Angewidert says:

    Uhhh ….. NOT !

    We’ve weathered the storm? This must be the only news piece you’ve read recently because the ones I read on an almost daily basis talk about consistent gun violence and ongoing criminal activity. They talk about a downtown that’s so sketchy at night that people worry that a few less sheriff’s officers downtown, due to a lack of funding, might make the area unsafe. That’s weathering the storm? Really?

    Have you also not read about the recent police department survey and how out of control Evangelous has let it become or how he intends to just address it “sometime” in the future?

    Could I imagine Ricky Meeks addressing these issues? Why would I imagine that when he’s not even running for a law enforcement post? Could I imagine Meeks making sane decisions as a member of the City Council of NHC Commission? Probably. He’s certainly come up with sane ideas before.

    I noticed that you never even mentioned our inept and potentially corrupt City Council. I guess, in your mind, they’re just doing a bang-up job as well.

    Last but not least: You talk about Phoenix’s also-rans and refer to them as “hams”. Apparently you are either unfamiliar with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the still current Sheriff, who is probably the biggest “ham” in the business or you actually condone that type of behavior as well.

    If you were trying to post a piece from the perspective of one of the “good old boys” who wants things to stay “just as they are”, you couldn’t have done a better job. If that’s not what your intention was, the “good old boys” should compliment you on being such an inadvertent shill.

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    You have been trolling everywhere that Marc Benson is mentioned and slamming him. You obviously have ulterior motives and are supporting another candidate. Saying that you are going to cut waste after looking at the budget and properly identifying where the waste is…is simply common sense. You are trying to create something that simply doesn’t exist. There is plenty of waste in our local government agencies. Simply making a blanket statement that you will trim the budget everywhere is exactly the type of statement you warn against. Benson answered the question properly which probably hurt your delicate sensitivities more than anything.

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    Marc Benson has thousands of investigations and arrests under his belt. He has worked to put several criminals behind bars and has even worked harder to exonerate a few who didn’t belong there. Vaughn is a DEFENSE ATTORNEY! He works to keep people OUT of jail. He was a School Resource Officer and a Jailer. How many crimes did he solve in those positions and how many people did he arrest? Listen to the interview above. Jason Vaughn contradicts himself and stumbles and bumbles through several answers. Marc Benson has been instrumental in outing people like Julia Boseman and RC Soles. He isn’t afraid to go after the biggest fish out there and take them on. He has run a successful business and radio show for several years now. The Governor of NC recently appointed him to the Board of Private Protective Services. I believe Marc is more than qualified for taking on the position of chief law enforcement officer of New Hanover County.

  • Citizen Jason says:

    Just because a lawyer, long out of entry-level Law Enforcement, might be good at suing people, and getting DWI’s off, it doesn’t mean he should be a Sheriff.

    We don’t need a Dogg the Bounty Hunter-type, Radio Talk Show Host.

    We don’t need a hateful, 100 year old man.

    What we need is what we have. Current Sheriff Ed McMahon.

  • Tom C says:

    Lots of Benson bashers on this post, but not one who says they actually know him or have worked with him. He was McMahon’s supervisor, and is the most highly-trained law enforcement expert running. After all the corruption under Causey and McMahon’s “leadership” it’s high time for a change, and the one thing about Benson that few deny, is he cannot be bought. Marc Benson is highly intelligent and of very solid character. The people who’ve actually worked with him know this. We also know that the McMahon and Causey regime do NOT want him, because things will get uncomfortable. Benson will make changes and eliminate waste. Benson has made it very clear through the years, that he considers law enforcement a calling, not a job. Marc has a strong personality, and Causey did not want him in the job… he wanted McMahon, a puppet. And McMahon has proven to be a good little puppet for the good old boys around here. McMahon simply cannot control crime. It’s out of control and we need someone tough in office now. You only have to glance at these four candidates to see the clear choice…. the strongest one, Benson.

  • guest111 says:

    If you can’t remember the story, how can you remember the event? Stupid

  • Can't remember says:

    Does any one remember why Marc Benson left Carolina Beach Police in the 90’s? I can’t remember the story.

  • guest111 says:

    Benson finish last? He’s ahead of Causey in WWAY’s election poll. .

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Marc and Don are barely casual aquaintences and that was all through professional meetings regarding investigations that overlapped. Not quite sure where you are pulling this stuff from “Dan” but, I spoke to Marc just yesterday and this was news to all of us.

    What qualifications do McMahon or Vaughn have that are any better than what Marc brings to the table? Hell, Marc was McMahon’s supervisor at one time so it is hard to make the comment that McMahon is in any way better than him. Vaughn has been a defense attorney for the last several years working to get criminals OUT of doing any jail/prison time. Not exactly the qualification I would be looking for in a Sheriff.

    What is it about bringing someone in who isn’t afraid to go up against the politicians in this area that has you all so bent out of shape? Marc won’t be a lap dog and that is obviously a problem for many people around here.

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    Marc Benson spent 24 years in law enforcement. He has run a successful PI business for several years as well as a very popular radio show that he doesn’t get paid a dime for. As a PI, he works with every single one of the local law enforcement agencies and has been of great assistance in several high profile cases. He now serves on the board for Private Protective Services in Raleigh. I know it is convenient and essential to write him off. You are obviously the same person posting under several pseudonyms. You have a problem with Benson and Meeks…we get it. You are an Internet troll…we get it. Now, go and put out a few more McMahon signs and give your keyboard a break.

  • WannabeX says:

    Enough said,, the more I learn and hear the scarier it gets…that these are my options..

  • Right winger says:

    Benson is a 3 time loser in Sheriff elections. If he was so sought after, why can’t he find a job in law enforcement instead being a radio dj and private investigator? This must be a publicity stunt or ego feeder because the citizens of New Hanover county have told him no Thanks at the ballot no three times. Benson is starting to feel like a stalker.

  • Citizen Jason says:

    Better then being a “Ballot Troll” over the last 20 years.

  • Wilmington Truth Teller says:

    Hey Marc,
    It doesn’t take a genius,to figure out who “Bill O’Brien” is.

  • Dan Crouch says:

    Fact. If Benson wins in New Hanover and Don Nichols who is running for Sheriff in Pender County loses then Nichols becomes Benson’s chief deputy. If Nichols wins and Benson loses then Benson becomes chief deputy in Pender County. Be careful who you vote for. As far as Causey running I watched the debate between he and Sheriff McMahon. Causey is overwhelmed with hate and disrespect. He came off as a mean man who wants his job back as he has nothing to do since he retired and then running for county commissioner and losing. When Causey was Sheriff he did not have a working relationship with WPD because of ego issues. Sheriff McMahon does. The 40 or so deputies who Causey said have been calling him for a change is about average percentage wise with the number of the people working for the Sheriff. There are those who are making deals for higher ranking and those who are just unhappy. For New Hanover County the only two qualified to be Sheriff are Sheriff McMahon and Jason Vaughn. The rest just want the name of being “High Sheriff”. Again, be careful who you vote for.

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    I am Bill O’Brien…no secret…no conspiracy. I have sat beside Marc in the Blue Line Radio studio several times and I have called him friend for year now. I know the man and his ethics. I post on here using my name because I choose not to be some anonymous troll like someone calling themselves “Wilmington Truth Teller”.

    I am not scared to use my name because I am not throwing wild accusations all over the place trying to discredit anyone.

  • Citizen Jason says:

    Just because someone’s a lawyer, it does not mean he is capable of being Sheriff. Most lawyers are better at suing people, and helping DWI’s get off.

  • Caroline Johnson says:

    Great guy. Great ideas. Diverse experience!! He brings more to the table and understands how things work!!

  • Bill O'Brien says:

    Vaughn worked in the brig in the Marine Corps and attained the rank of corporal. He was then a jailer and school resouorce officer at the NHCSO before becoming a lawyer where he now practices as a defense attorney.

    Just curious but, how does any of that make him a quality fit for the highest law enforcement position in the county? I commend him for his military service. I served for 13 years in the Navy and Army as a Combat Medic and Corpsman…am I qualified to be a surgeon because of that?

    He is obviously smart and hard working to have made it through law school…again, a commendable job. When did he risk his life though? I did not know that he had been in combat.

    Marc Benson served in law enforcement for 24 years and graduated from the FBI National Academy. He has arrested hundreds of people and investigated thousands of crimes. He now continues to work as a private investigator and a radio personality.

    I would prefer the guy who has shown time and again that he is willing to stand up to the politicians. I want someone who will always do the right thing…even if it isn’t the nice thing or easy thing.

    I prefer to see a cop over a defense attorney holding the office of Sheriff.

  • Joe says:

    He was a a military police officer in the USMC. He was a New Hanover Deputy. He became a lawyer and interned at the D.A.s office in New Hanover. He has worked hard as a private attorney handling serious criminal cases and family law. He is a smart man, a hard working man, and most importantly, a good man. I know Jason and I trust him. He is serious and prepared. He has risked his life for his country and his county and now he wants to be your Sheriff. Give him your ear and your vote. This guy is the real deal.

  • Citizen Jason says:

    I don’t think any local department would touch Marc, with a ten foot pole. Just like Ricky Meeks, Marc has been around for several past elections, and will be back for several more.

    Vaughn seems good. But who is he ? What experience ? A Marine jailor, a School Resource Officer ? Just a few years each ? I believe A Civil Litigation attorney. Now he wants back in Law Enforcement as the sheriff ?

    Why should I vote for either one of these guys. They have great plans and promises. But will they get off the ground ? Talk is cheap.

    I want a good Christian, who has cut millions in waste, from the budget. Who stood by his deputies in their darkest hours, during those three nightmare situations, when they did what they had to do. I want Sheriff McMahon.

  • Old Guy says:

    Jason, You are clueless as to who Marc is and what he stands for. Your so called “good Christian, who has cut millions in waste, from the budget. Who stood by his deputies in their darkest hours, during those three nightmare situations, when they did what they had to do” has great morals but he has had to compromise them several times during his reign. Why do you think he changed parties? So he could become sheriff. There has never been a Republican Sheriff in New Hanover County, never! A “good ole boy” that Sid trained. Do you really think he has always been there for his Deputies? Do you think he always follows the teachings of Jesus Christ? Think again. He has been confronted by many a Good Christian and asked when he was going to follow the scriptures only to be asked to resign. You need to do a little more digging into your candidate. Great PR guy but he doesn’t run that department Rhonda does. Ask anybody! She makes all of the decisions around there.
    Marc was the one that came up with the courthouse security to begin with. Because he wouldn’t play nice with the “good ole boys” he was shoved out just like a lot of the rest of us. Been there, done that, bought the T shirt and burned it years ago. All you have to do is ask around and make up your own mind about good ole ED.
    New Hanover County deserves new blood and ideas!

  • Erlkoenig says:

    A good Christian would bolt from the Commucrat party quicker than you can say amnesty for illegal aliens. What is McMahon’s stance on these particular law breakers?

  • Gramps1945 says:

    It would be fitting for Ricky Meeks, and Marc Benson, to ride together, on the back of a Corvette, during the Azalea Festival. Are these guys having a competition, to see who can finish last, the most times, in elections ?

    After 20 years. I’m sick and tired, of both these “Attention Clowns”, and their antics, at Wilmington’s expense.

  • taxpayer says:

    Marc Benson.

  • Erlkoenig says:


  • I Care Why says:

    Either one will end up corrupt anyway. i would vote for bozo the clown before these 2

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