LENOIR COUNTY -

As the results rolled in Tuesday night a new man was named to likely lead Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office.

Incumbent Interim Sheriff Chris Hill lost the primary election to retired Kinston Department of Public Safety Major Ronnie Ingram. Ingram took the lead Tuesday night with 3,586 votes, while Hill was defeated with 1,906 votes.

The two democratic candidates said they campaigned hard.

"In order to get results you got to put the work in and that's what we did," Ingram said."Some people, whether they agree or not, it was time for a change, a time to put somebody different in office."

Ingram he joined the Department of Public Safety in 1985. He served as a lieutenant before being promoted to a major and retired in 2013.

Ingram said during the primary race he laid it all on the line.

"We reached out and went from one side of the county to the other," he said.

He said he is ready to make a change.

"We want to foster a better working relationship with Lenoir County Sheriff Department and other agencies," Ingram explained.

At the end of the day Ingram said he's just a local boy who grew up in Lenoir County, and wants to stand by his campaign promises to give back to his community.

"I got a passion for doing it, a passion for people and a passion for seeing things done right,” he said.

NewsChannel 12 also spoke with current Sheriff Chris Hill. He said he's proud of his service to the county, but fears the primary race last night was skewed by race.  

"While I’ve not seen the actual polling numbers for the different precincts, i have to believe that, or speculate that there was some racial undertone, something going on there racially that pushed voters based on race in one direction or another,” Hill told NewsChannel 12 during a phone interview.

Hill has worked with the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years. In February 2013 he was named interim sheriff, and took over the position after the former and late Sheriff Billy Smith decided to step down and retire.

Hill said he is proud of the work his department has down in the past years and thanks everyone who supported him along the way. He said he will retire as sheriff when his term ends in December.

One other candidate, Ricky Pearson, is working on getting signatures to run against Ingram in November.

The deadline for that filing is June 12.