LAURINBURG —Scotland County Sheriff Ralph Kersey may not run for re-election, according to a Facebook account that is listed under his name.
In the message posted Monday night, Kersey said he would not seek a second term that begins in 2018. He said Monday’s announcement on social media was the first time he has talked about the decision publicly.
“There have been many rumors going around that I will not be running for a second term. The rumors are true,” he said under the Facebook account Ralph Kersey Sheriff.
He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
A retired N.C. Highway Patrol officer and former Marine, Kersey defeated incumbent Democrat Sheriff Shep Jones in 2014.
The Republican promised to be hands-on as sheriff, paring down the chain of command at the top, eschewing a personal county vehicle and riding along with his deputies to develop stronger personal relationships within the department.
“My intentions have always been to protect and serve,” he wrote on Facebook. “I have given my life to this cause. Over the last 19 months I have continued to face many obstacles. I have had to make decisions that I believe stood for … honesty, integrity, and professionalism. I will not allow that belief to be changed by any person or organization.
“I love this county and pray that my replacement will follow the same beliefs.”
Mark Schenck, chairman of the county Republican Party said he was sorry to see a fellow a Republican give up the office, typically held by a Democrat here.
Schenck added that Kersey had done an outstanding job as the county’s top cop.
“Just when county law enforcement is starting to show improvements in organization, discipline, a revitalization of a departmental team spirit along with so many new community programs being initiated, we are about to return to an uncertain future again.”
Several people echoed those sentiments on Kersey’s Facebook page. Many said they respected the sheriff’s decision, but were saddened by it. Others suggested that he run for an elected board by arguing that residents “need a change in this county.”
“You have given so much of your life to represent this office with class and dignity,” Nancy Morris Beacham wrote on Facebook.”You will be missed.”
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023