North Carolina has only one female sheriff.
First elected in 2000, Currituck County Susan Johnson is the only woman of the state's 100 sheriffs, though she used to have more company.
As recently as 2006, there were three women, including Sheriff Barbara Pickens of Lincoln County and an appointee in Washington County.
Pickens was the state's first female sheriff when she was elected in 1994. She was re-elected to two more terms, retiring in 2006 after losing a bid for another term.
Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president of the N.C. Sheriffs' Association, said he did not know why there were not more women in the role.
"The decision about who to elect rests with the qualified voters of the individual counties," he said.
Though women were elected to a number of offices for the first time this year, several top positions in law enforcement remain nearly all male.