Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill lost his bid for a full term Tuesday night.
The Lenoir County Board of Elections shows challenger Ronnie Ingram defeated hill 3,586 votes to 1,906.
The race was closely watched as both men have more than 30 years of law enforcement experience.
Ingram joined Kinston Public Safety in 1985 and also served as lieutenant before being promoted to major.
He says he wants to come out of retirement to create a positive work environment for his employees and work more closely with surrounding agencies and counties to deter crime.
Hill has worked in the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office for more than 30 years, and was appointed sheriff last year when Billy Smith retired.
No one has announced to run under the Republican ticket for Lenoir County sheriff in November.