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FIRST ON 3: Bladen Sheriff's race will be on November ballot

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Bladen Sheriff's race will be on November ballot

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A new sheriff candidate has arrived in Bladen County. This after candidate Prentis Benston thought he might already had the job. It took more than 800 signatures for former state trooper Billy Ward to add his name to the ballot. Now it's up to Bladen County voters to decide who gets the job of Sheriff in November.

Ward petitioned to enter the race for Sheriff as an independent. The requirements: collect 869 signatures from Bladen County voters, that's four percent of the voting population. Ward turned in way more than that.

"The last full batch of petitions I received he had 888, so exceeded the numbers yesterday afternoon, and right now we are still going though a stack of 300 to 400 more," said Bladen County Elections Director Larry Hammond.

Besides the signatures, Ward had to fill out a few more pieces of paper work and pay his filing fee. With a group of family and supporters behind him Ward proudly signed and paid Friday to officially become a candidate for Sheriff.

"This is a miracle," Ward said. "It's a truly miracle. If you believe in miracles and divine intervention, it's happening today."

As for Ward's opponent, Democrat Prentis Benston, who won a run-off against fellow deputy Eric Bryan Tuesday, had very little to say about Ward's late entry during a phone conversation Friday. He said he expected Ward to enter the race in this fashion and is ready for what's ahead.

The two remaining candidates, though, won't be the next sheriff. Current Sheriff Steve Bunn is retiring Wednesday, and commissioners won't appoint an interim sheriff until Thursday night. So under state law, for several hours the county coroner will be sheriff before the interim sheriff is named.

Both candidates say their focus would be on the people of the county. Voters will decide on Bladen County's new sheriff in November.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


We as citizens of Bladen

We as citizens of Bladen County should want whats best for the county regardless of the color of a man's skin. Both canidates feel that they are qualified to hold this position. We as citizens should close our eyes and open our ears and hearts to listen to what's being said and promised by them and search for the truth and may the best man win.


Citizens of Bladen should want what is best for the county and Mr. Benston is not the answer unless you want the turmoil to continue and drugs and gangs to take over the county completely. Even the county commissioners agree and they showed that by not appointing Mr. Benston Interim Sheriff. Maybe the rest of the citizens of Bladen County will get this subtle hint and not vote for him in the November Election. It is obvious they do not want him as the Sheriff even if it is temporary.
Finally glad to see some intelligent people commenting on these very serious concerns.


Mr. Ward is experienced, educated, and dedicated. He is ready to serve the citizens of Bladen County and restore the Sheriff's Department's integrity, professionalism, transparency, and accountability and, at the same time, making Bladen County a safer place. Voting for Mr. Benston would be a mistake because he is part of the problem. Bladen County is on a downward spiral and someone like Mr. Ward is what it needs to correct it. He is an outsider to the Sheriff's Dept., but, he is from and lives in Bladen County. Mr. Ward has been in or taught law enforcement for 39 years. Do not make your decision based on the past or race. Base it on the future and safety of Bladen County.

Of course since Eric Bryan

Of course since Eric Bryan did not win the run off, you have people like this Billy Ward character that is already upset about having a black man for president, that this racist county, which is Bladen, will do anything to keep a black man from being sherriff. And these racist people would rather elect a crooked man as long as he's a white man, than to elect a man who is for the residents of Bladen county, due to this honest man being a black man...

people have been knowing he

people have been knowing he was going to run 3 months ago re gardless who won. now you are throwing in the race card,but thats your opinion. mine is if you are over 30 and never voted before[oboma,presston] you were voting ONLY because of race

Sheriff's race

Mr. Benston won the sheriff's election because of white and black voters. He acknowledged this in his acceptance speech. His campaign was ran by people of both colors. This is not demonstrative of racism. This is true democracy.

I do not know Mr. Ward personally, but it is unfair to say that Mr. Ward is upset that a black man has been elected. Mr. Ward may think that Mr. Benston is not the best choice for sheriff not because of color, but because Mr. Ward feels he is. This is Mr. Ward's right as a citizen of this county and this nation. This is true democracy. This is what makes Bladen Couty so great. Black and white citizens feeling as though they can serve the county best. We should feel fortunate not hostile. Mr. Ward is well with in the law to file at this time to run for sheriff. It was Mr. Benston's right and legal to file after the primary election for a runoff even though he did not win the majority in the primary.

Is it fair to say that Mr. Benston is racist and that he did not want a white man as sheriff, or he felt that he was the better choice? I hope for the sake of Bladen County he thought the latter when he filed for a runoff.

I am proud to be a citizen of Bladen County and I am proud of all candidates that have and are participating in the sheriff's election. It is not easy when comments are made so callus without the thought of others.

A miracle? Divine

A miracle? Divine intervention?

Foolish, breath-taking pronouncements from a man who must have delusions of grandeur.

God is not interested in your greedy little efforts to become sheriff of backwoods Bladen County.

If He is, then His attentions are sorely misplaced.


It is no secret that Ward has run several times in the past and lost. It is also no secret that on Monday June the 21st, he had only received around 400 signatures since he began this endeavor several months ago. Now the sore loser's in the bryan camp have enabled him to get the signatures in one day that he would have never gotten had they won. That's alright, they have now put Ward and his family in the limelight of a highly contested Sheriff's race in order to satisfy their selfish discontent. Prentis Benston was the clear winner of the democratic nomination and remains the most qualified for the job.

Bladen County Sheriff

Obviously the people making comments do not know what they are talking about because Mr. Ward will be an official candidate on the ballot and not a write-in. Also, Mr. Benston would be foolish to take the interim position, because when he loses the race in November, he will be unemployed.

he won .....are you

he won .....are you speechless now.......hahahhahh

Unless state law prohibits it

Im betting Prentiss Benston is the "Interim" Sheriff that way the write in has no way in hell of beating him in November after all he'll be already in the job.

Mr. Ward was collecting

Mr. Ward was collecting signatures long before the first primary. I am an unaffiliated Bladen County voter and I do not know enough about Mr. Ward at this point to make a decision about who to support. We can only hope that the commissioners have enough wisdom to appoint someone who is not involved in the race to fill out Bunn's term. We must also hope that the voters will think long and hard about both men and make an informed decision. As for the race issue, the race card is losing its value. Invariably, someone will bring it up when things do not go their way, but few people take it seriously. It is simply a tool used by the weak when there is no valid argument. Let the debate be on the issues, and may the best man win.


Glad some people speak with wisdom. Race is played out and someone other than one of the candidates should fill in until the November election. Issues are also why you should vote for the right person for the position. Billy Ward for Bladen County Sheriff.