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Should a political party decide New Hanover County's next sheriff?

READ MORE: Should a political party decide New Hanover County's next sheriff?
When Sheriff Sid Causey announced in February he would take early retirement from New Hanover County, it triggered a process to replace him that gives power not to the people, but to his political party. "There is rationale behind the idea that since the sheriff was elected in a partisan election, then perhaps the party should have a strong voice in deciding who the successor would be," said Democratic Party Chair Jim Morgan. State law calls for commissioners in 55 of the state's counties to select a successor if a sheriff leaves office mid-term. But in the other 45 counties, including Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender, state law says "if the sheriff were elected as a nominee of a political party before filling the vacancy, the Board of Commissioners shall consult the county executive committee of that political party... and shall elect the person recommended by the county executive committee of that party." But county Democratic Party Chair Jim Morgan admits the process to find a new sheriff is not ideal. "Our role is to simply name the successor to complete the term. And ideally, the people should select the sheriff, and they will at the general election.” Morgan's Republican counterpart, though, said it makes practical sense. "It would be too difficult and too time consuming to have a full election every time an elected official steps out of office," Alex Dale said. But some state lawmakers want some sort of change. Bills in the legislature would require the political party to submit three nominees to a county commission for a replacement sheriff. “I think it would be nice if the county commissioners had some discretion, because it would give some oversight to the process," Dale said. Current Chief Deputy Ed McMahon and former sheriff's Major David Smithey are the two people under consideration to replace Sid Causey. The Executive Committee of the New Hanover County Democratic Party meets tonight at 5:30 to interview and discuss the two candidates. The meeting at the El Berta Motel Assembly Room at 4504 Market Street is open to the public.

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Sid Causey

I would like to know why Mr. Causey decided to leave office during his term. Was this a planned move? Mr. Causey certainly should have known the process in naming his replacement. I personally don't trust the man. Regardless of the party affiliation, I think the ONLY person for the job is Marc Benson. Marc is a good person who has the qualifications, integrity and character to serve in this most important position. One thing is for sure, Marc would do his job and focus on getting the crimimal off the street and do all he could to decrease crime in New Hanover County.

Are we crazy?

It is very simple. If Mr.Causey chose McMahon then he should be the last person put in this position. The department is in need of major change. Why are people so blind? How could any logical person think that things should be kept the same?

As a Repubublican I say

As a Repubublican I say that they should stay out of it. But that is not the way it works. He was voted in by the Democrats and as much as it pains me to say it he should be replaced by a Democrat. With that being said they will have to have someone qualified to do the job and if not then take it to the polls. ROGER FLEMING


I think Ed McMahan is the right choice. He is one of the most gracious, honest men I know. I think the problem with some who may not like the choice is, he can't be bought. He will represent THE PEOPLE of New Hanover County well.

The Voters Should Decide

It is an ELECTED office position. The voters should decide. The LAST group that should have ANY input at all is the NHCSD. There have been enough shenanigans and insider trading as it is..

If the President is killed,

If the President is killed, who takes over...the VP. But what happens when he is killed? Do we get a say in who the then new President will be? Of course not. There is nothing wrong with they way things are run...and no I'm not a democrat. There will be another election in 2010. The "people" will get a say as to who the next Sheriff will be then. I would cost way too much money and time to have another election a year before the actual election. Where's that money going to come from...our taxes???


The sheriff's office didn't pick the replacement. The New Hanover County Democratic Party did. This appointment is just for the remainder of the term Sheriff Causey is vacating. This is no different than any other elected office. If the office is vacated, the party will select a replacement to finish the term. The same thing was done in Brunswick and Mecklenburg Counties last year. The election for sheriff will be coming in 2010. Then, Sheriff McMahon will have to run and the voters in the county get to decide.