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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s not every day you see a democrat buy an ad supporting a republican, but that’s exactly what a former sheriff did and more.

It is a battle royale with an unlikely opponent.

District attorney Jon David faces a republican primary challenge from Ryan Smithwick. But a former sheriff has joined in the fight after buying an ad bashing David.

Just one month before elections Batten bought an ad in the Whiteville News Reporter showing comments David made in a 2011 article in “Lawyers Weekly.”

In the ad Batten said, “David boldly stated that he aligns himself, ‘very well with the wine-and-cheese set, the kind of people living in the gated communities.'”

We showed David’s opponent the ad for his thoughts.

“I think those comments, they speak for themselves as far as what types of citizens in the community you do well with, and what types that you don’t do well with,” Smithwick said.

Batten said David told a civic organization, “I thought the hardest thing I would have to do when I took this job as DA would be whether to play nine holes or 18 holes of golf.”

But David says those comments were taken out of context.

“I don’t even play golf right now at this point in my life,” David said. “I’m so busy with the work of being district attorney and being a dad of two children under four years old that my time is very much consumed. So what you have here are people who try to take things out of context for political gain.”

And this is not the first time Batten has had some unfavorable comments about David.

In 2011 Batten told “Lawyers Weekly” that David was not treating Columbus and Bladen counties fairly, but he later told us the writer only used his negative comments for the story.

Batten made it very clear who he wants as the next DA, but David says Smithwick is not qualified for the job.

“My opponent is a criminal defense attorney who’s never handled a murder case, so from an experience stand point, and experience really matters when we’re talking about district attorney, we’re just at very different places in our career,” David said.

“Well experience, I would disagree with him. I’ve got experience. As far as a murder case is concerned, I’ve tried everything short of a murder case. That means I’ve tried attempted murders, rapes, robberies, violent cases,” Smithwick said.

We tried reaching Batten for his comments, but he did not return our calls.


Comment on this Story

  • Bladen business owner

    Jon David is not available nor is he unaccessible to the public. Violent crimes are at an all-time high and the offenders need to be locked up for a longer time, instead of out on probation within a few months, committing more violent crimes.

  • Guest5614

    If Mr. David has done a great job the last four years Wormy G, wouldn’t law enforcement be pleased with his efforts and stand behind him for another term. You must admit they haven’t stepped up to openly support him this time around. Why is that?

  • Wormy G

    You got my vote. We need you for 4 more years. The corruption is weak but the vampire isn’t down. Thanks for giving the average Joe a voice and a gladiator in the courtroom something we never had under Rex Gore.
    Thank you Wway for giving us a chance to thank Jon David.

  • Trudy Inge

    He doesn’t know when to speak the truth. Vote David back to the DA’s office and make more crooks resign as Batten did. Give em H Jon David!

  • Bernice M

    Thank you Jon a David for having the courage to stand up to these guys. My husband and I will vote for you. God bless. Keep giving them heck!

  • Same ole

    This is either a Smithwick falsity or someone does not understand the system. Plea bargains are taken and given probably more so than cases are tried. Why is that? There could be many reasons such as evidence improperly handled, weak case, witnesses stories don’t match up etc. On the very front end of a criminal case you have the investigator. The police. If the evidence isn’t handled either through a chain of custody or just outright collected sloppily such taints a case and as we’ve all seen in OJ could effect the outcome. Sometimes witnesses and victims do not wish the embarrassment and public display of a long and tiresome trial. But get your facts straight or go back and learn the process. Plea deals involve many reasons and ALL players in a given case. They have very little to do with a DA. In fact the Pew institute did a recent study which found that as many as 80 percent of cases which were plead would have had a “not guilty” verdict if put to trial. The sole reason it stated was sloppy evidence collection by law enforcement. So this is laid at the Batten’s of the systems feet.

  • Luke45

    Cases in some counties take up to 7 years. I point to Robeson where a DWI took that long to try. But 4 years really does not mean much except that there is a lot of crime. Many counties have been considering a night court for years. It’s just that there is no budget for it. But the presence of crime and people in jail reflects a nation of laws. It also shows that the DA and Judges have much work to do. Am I correct in that you or someone else on here insinuates that another DA would guarantee no crime and all cases would br handled when a person is charged? That sounds really good. In reality it’s impossible. I personally feel the DA David has done a great job with the tools and staff he is given. It’s easy to cast stones but hard to debate facts. There are many players who determine how fast or slow a case flows throw the system. The DA is but one of them. I will vote for Jon David because he is honest and he represents us all. Even those crooked attorneys he’s made mad. Even democrats and republicans as well.

  • Lea Marshburn

    Unlike the corrupt regime from Rex Gore’s administration; so why try to fix? Anyways I do not see a candidate that matches the incumbent’s experience. By the looks of these posts if such can be taken into account as a survey and other posts I’ve read on the Net, Smithwick does not stand a chance. As far as campaign finance Smithwick’s shows poor results as he’s running a poorly financed campaign. David, the best choice, appears to have raised 10x what Smithwick has raised. I have read Smithwick’s claims that he has all this support and yet I see no one from the law enforcement community at any of his evens. I’ve went to 2 of his and 2 of David’s. And if he’s supported by all these attorneys some claim it isn’t evident in the BOE report Smithwick has filed. Keep in mind that’s Smithwick’s report I’m speaking of. Most of this is BS and smoke and mirrors. And whomever convinced Smithwick to run was not completely honest with him it appears. So I guess I’m endorsing Jon David for district attorney. And I have made an informed decision. Thank you.

  • James Devry

    There rarely comes a time in history where Free men and women can take a stand and make a difference, there are so many lies and mis-truths out there that it is difficult to choose a course of action, HOWEVER WHEN A WEAK POINT IS AVAILABLE, IN THE WAVE OF TYRANNY, Then Free Men And Women should STRIKE AND TAKE A STAND AT THAT POINT!
    Vote Jon David for District Attorney.
    Help save our district.
    A vote for Jon David sends a message loud and clear that we will not give in to corruption.

  • Jason Harvey

    Thank you WwAY for allowing us to have a voice. But there is nothing new here. A simple Google of “support Jon David against Corruption” will unequivocally prove my point. Here’s a repost from the GOP chair last election.

    May 26, 2011 in News | Comments (0)
    Statement from 7th District GOP Chairman Frank Williams:
    “I am sorry that I could not attend today’s event, but am tied up working on some pressing deadlines for clients.
    “I have had the opportunity to get to know Jon David over the past couple of years. Speaking as someone who was born and raised here in southeastern North Carolina, I am proud that he is our District Attorney.
    “As a candidate, Jon David consistently stated that he would change things if he were elected and that cases would be handled in the courtroom, not the back room. As our District Attorney, he is working hard to do just that. Unfortunately, there are those who support the status quo, and they are fighting against the positive changes Jon is bringing about as our District Attorney.
    “As District Attorney, Jon David is upsetting the apple cart by taking a firm stand against a long-entrenched culture of corruption. As concerned citizens, we must stand behind him.”
    Tags: Bladen County, Brunswick County, Columbus County, Democrat Corruption, Public Safety

  • Tax burdened

    Just because a DA refuses to save courts resources and time to work out plea arrangements and chooses to stuff the calendar with matters that are gonna arrive at the same sentence whether heard by a Judge or Jury, makes no difference if it’s by phone, email, in a front courtroom, a back courtroom, or on the sidewalk. The local county pays to house all of those people until sentenced to the correctional facility, which has the resources to cover the cost by the state. IT IS A BURDEN ON THE COUNTY AND THE PEOPLE PAYING TAXES TO CARRY OUT CASES 4 YEARS.

  • Rico Martinez

    Let us be careful of calling someone crooks. None of these officials you speak of are currently charged nor have they ever been. Guest 757 you lose credibility when you do such and when it cannot be substantiated. Reminds one of the civil rights movement when minorities were labeled and lied upon. Also reminds one of the “witches” of Salem who were burned at stake. Thank our merciful God for innocent until proven guilty and fair trials. I have seen justice for people who did not receive it previously. I have seen Prosecutor David bring that justice to minorities such as poor Hispanics. The last prosecutor seemed numb to giving rights to poor Hispanics. There seemed to be selective prosecution. I know nothing but good and fair treatments that we did not share or enjoy in the past. These benefits came about through Jon David. I and my family will vote for him to return to office.

  • Guest2020

    I thank you for your service, both as a member of the military and a member of law enforcement. During the last election that Jon David was in, there was only one democrat that I voted for and that was Butch Pope. I didn’t like Jon David before he became District Attorney and I like him even less now. I cannot condone his behavior with the corruption charges in the Leland Police Department and I cannot get past his plea deals, especially the one he gave to the man who raped and murdered Valerie Burns. This man does not deserve our trust and he is not fit to serve our community.

  • Newton

    Jon David doesn’t care if you re-elect him! It doesn’t really matter if he keeps his Brunswick DA job or not because he has his old job waiting for him as his brother’s assistant DA across the bridge. His brother is unopposed in this election, as usual. That’s part of the club membership benefits at Cobb Corporation.

  • A Lovett

    I have served in our nation’s military and previously served in law enforcement since 2003. I worked as a case manager at the North Carolina Department of Corrections.
    I am presently working as a private officer of the court.
    With my professional experience in mind, I write to give my endorsement for Jon David for District Attorney. I believe that since Mr. David has been elected to the prosecutor’s office people are beginning to see our county in a more favorable light. Many, who in the past were denied access to the prosecutor’s office, seem to be enjoying a basic right to equal protection previously unheard of. There is definitely an air of positive change since Jon David came to Columbus County. Prior to Jon David’s election, the system had become old and stale and there were many complaints throughout the county of victims not having equal access to justice. I have been in a position to witness this first-hand.
    I ask that you join with me in voting for Jon David for District Attorney on May 6th 2014.

  • Guest2020


    Jon David agreed to a plea deal for this man who raped a woman, put her in the trunk of her car and set it on fire.

    If that isn’t enough to tell you he is not fit to serve then let’s remember how he handled Leland’s police chief when there were allegations of corruption. If it had not been for the media and the public outcry, nothing would have been done. It was only when the allegations came to light and the public urged him to do so, that David called in the state to conduct an investigation. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done so because the chief was his neighbor and buddy.

    We do not need people like him in office.

  • Mr. Smith

    To Patty Smith,
    Your “facts” like Smithwick’s “facts” prove nothing more than a District Attorney, once elected represents ALL people. This is something Rex Gore, your other hero, failed to understand. An elected District Attorney represents Blacks, Whites, Indians, Chinese, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, thugs etc. that’s a fact of life under our system. Now just ask Bill Rabon and you’ll understand this better. Obviously a lot of people from ALL parties recognize we have a District Attorney that is fair and balanced. Take notes and learn. Smithwick poor soul has barely raised anything. Says a lot to me.

  • Patty Smith

    I have been following the election closely and I wanted to add some information I think everyone should know. Jon David is a RINO (a “Republican in name ONLY” for those who are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with political jargon). In fact, his twin brother, Ben David, the District Attorney for New Hanover county, is a Democrat. Also, there is some concern over who can be considered “in the pocket” of former state senator RC Soles. If you take a moment to visit the NC Board of Elections website and peruse the campaign donations you’ll see that Jon David seems to be quite cozily nestled to RC Sole’s bosom. In what way, you may ask? Well RC Soles right hand man, Mitchell Tyler, can be found amongst the names of contributors to the Jon David cause (follow this link for the most recent updates on campaign contributions http://app.ncsbe.gov/webapps/cf_rpt_search_org/cf_report_detail.aspx?RID=125572&TP=REC ). In just this link I’ve provided you can see that Mitchell Tyler, who is essentially a proxy for RC Soles, has made multiple donations to Jon David’s reelection campaign. These include $184 on 11/19/2013, $1000 on 11/20/2013, and $150 on 12/18/2013. My final tidbit of information is that not only did Mitchell Tyler make these donations but he was also in charge of Jon David’s Columbus County fundraiser earlier this very year. It looks like the past 4 years were just 4 more years of Rex Gore, let’s have a real change.

  • Tracie C

    Oh? Another story of political nature where the people involved act like children? Nothing new to see here.

  • Guest757

    Both of these brothers are corrupt and only worry about their reputation and not their ditizens!!!! I was raped a year ago and NOTHING WAS DONE!!! Thanks Ben David for letting my rapist go!!!!! He didn’t feel we had enough even though there were witnesses and one witness wasn’t even interviewed until 3 months later!!!!! My rape kit never went off because it “wasn’t needed” which is bull!!!!! It just so happens that the person who raped me was working out a deal here and the housing authority and I am sure Ben wanted to keep all the peace so we can fix up the projects!!!!

    Don’t tell me you don’t want it to go to trial because I ” might not win” which I don’t see how I couldn’t. I was never even given an option to have it heard by a jury of my peers!!! I just pray something like this never happens to another defenseless victim like myself!!!!!

    Screw you Ben David and your pompous brother too!!!!

  • Always spot a slob blob

    Shut up slob-blob Batten. You are pitiful

  • Roger Bird

    him. But when I read about Batten’s endorsement and saw Batten hauling him around it was a no brainer. I changed my vote to Jon David. Batten was not honest and a real bully.

  • Matthew1964

    So what are you saying? The district attorney does not calandar cases. Would you recommend we let all these people out. Sixty seven percent will go on to commit more crimes. I am retired law enforcement from Brunswick. The new DA worked well with us. I witnessed that myself. Are things perfect? No. Will they ever be? No. Not until God returns. There is many types of misinformation being spread. It is shameful. There are many crooks in office. It is sad. There are a few trying to get rid of an honest guy. That’s all I see happening. This can’t happen. If you believe in the rule of law. Then you are for justice. And your candidate is Jon David. May God go with him.

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