PENDER COUNTY, N.C. -- Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith has announced he is retiring to pursue a seat in the NC House of Representatives.

Smith, who has been sheriff in Pender County since 2002, sent an email to sheriff's office employees Tuesday informing them of his decision.

In the letter Smith says "I will not file to run for sheriff next year. I plan to retire as Sheriff of Pender County at the end of this fourth term on December 3rd, 2018. I want you to know however that I do plan to file to run for the North Carolina House of Representatives District 16 seat next year and, if elected, continue to serve the people of Pender County to the best of my ability."

The primary election for State Senate and House of Representatives will take place on May 8, 2018. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2018.