Farmville Police Lt. Bows Out Of Sheriff Race

Less than two weeks after filing for office, a candidate for Pitt County sheriff is calling it quits.

Paul McLawhorn, who is a lieutenant with the Farmville Police Department, said in an email that he no longer wants to be considered a candidate for sheriff.

McLawhorn had filed as a Democrat to run against incumbent Sheriff Neil Elks.

His decision came after it surfaced there were questionable Internet posts and blogs which were linked to him.

McLawhorn said the decision came "after much thought, prayer and deliberation."

He said at this point, his name cannot be removed from the ballot, and asked his supporters to back Elks instead.

McLawhorn's statement

After much thought, prayer, and deliberation, I am announcing that I am no longer to be considered a candidate for the office of Sheriff of Pitt County in the May 2014 primary election. I have never before aspired to run for public office, and the emotional, mental, and physical toll of running for an elected office is staggering, on both the candidate and their family. I have spoken with Sheriff Elks and advised him of my plans to no longer be considered a candidate. I have known Sheriff Elks for many years and always considered him a friend, and still do. We have no ill will toward one another. At this point, by election law, I cannot have my name removed from the ballot. However, I WILL NOT be campaigning from this point forward, and ask that you DO NOT vote for me in the election. I ask that the people who supported me in this endeavor now put your support behind Sheriff Elks, as I will be doing from this point forward. As the election draws nearer, I will be reminding you again that I am not to be considered as a candidate for this office, and please do not cast your vote for me. I have no desire to serve in this position. I also ask that you respect my decision, and my family's privacy, during this time.

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Farmville Police Lt. Paul McLawhorn filed papers Friday to run as a Democrat in the May primary for Pitt County Sheriff.

McLawhorn will face current sheriff Neil Elks, who is running for re-election.

McLawhorn says he's been a law enforcement officer in Pitt County for 25-years. He tells us he's worked as a patrol officer, as well as a narcotics officer for 15-years and was assigned to the Greenville Drug Task Force.

McLawhorn talked with us about why he's running for sheriff. He says, " I supported Sheriff Elks in the last election. Over the last four-years I've seen a disconnect between the sheriff's office and local agencies. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of cooperation. There's not as much pro active enforcement as there used to be. I think resources can be better used to, instead of just investigating crime after it happens, to prevent crime before it happens."

We also talked with Sheriff Elks Friday about his re-election bid. He says, "Well, the goals we have now are the same goals we started out with. It takes more than three-years to get your administration set up. I think we've come a long way in the last three-years, but it would take another four-years to finish getting us where we need to be. I would love to see us have more officers on the street. I would love to see us continue lowering our crime rate."

Elks also says they have had several high profile cases , taking lots of very serious criminals off the streets.

No Republicans have filed to run for sheriff.