ONLINE UPDATE: McMahon poised to defend seat in November

by Miriah Hamrick
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Early numbers suggest New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon will defend his seat in the general election.

McMahon snagged a clear lead with 80 percent of votes early in the night.

The Democratic primary race featured not one, but two candidates seeking reelection, presenting a unique challenge to McMahon.

His opponent Sid Causey served as sheriff from 2002 to 2009, when he retired and appointed McMahon as his successor. When McMahon ran for the office in 2010, Causey endorsed him.

That support waned in 2014, when Causey announced his intention to reclaim the position. Causey cited concerns about the sheriff’s office’s approach to school safety, gang violence and deputy raises.

McMahon said he hoped his tenure as sheriff would speak for itself against Causey’s accusations.

“I’ve just tried to stay positive…and hope the community would look at my past five years and judge me on that,” McMahon said.

The race between Republican candidates Marc Benson and Jason Vaughn has not shown such clear gains.

As of numbers calculated with 12 percent of ballots cast, Vaughn has pulled slightly ahead, claiming 55 percent compared to Benson’s 45 percent.

Benson has waged unsuccessful campaigns for sheriff, against Causey in 2002 and McMahon in 2010. He has led a 24-year career in law enforcement.

Vaughn is an attorney and managing member of the Law Office of Jason Vaughn. Before pursuing a law career, Vaughn worked in law enforcement for 16 years.

Vaughn said he was encouraged by early numbers. If he proceeds to the general election, Vaughn suggested he might reclaim some of Causey’s concerns.

McMahon said he is ready to regroup from his primary challenge and face either opponent.

“Truthfully, I’ve kept pretty busy. I haven’t really looked at the other side,” McMahon said. “I’m ready for whichever one.”

email miriah@luminanews.com

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