RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The runoff election Tuesday between Democrats for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office had incumbent Gerald Baker thoroughly beaten by challenger Willie Rowe as final unofficial voting results came in.
Rowe is a former major with the sheriff’s office.
With early voting, absentee ballots and all 208 precincts counted by 10:35 p.m., Rowe had 23,763 votes or 75.35 percent compared to Baker’s 7,773 votes or 24.65 percent, according to unofficial results.
Rowe came in first place during the May primary, but at 29.5 percent of the vote — just shy of the 30 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
Baker came in second place during the May primary with 24 percent of the ballots. Baker was elected in 2018.
After the primary in May, Baker said he believed a crowded field of Democratic candidates impacted the results.
On the Republican ticket, former Sheriff Donnie Harrison was the clear winner in the May primary, taking in 80 percent of the vote.
Harrison congratulated Rowe on the win.
“I want to congratulate Willie Rowe on winning the Democratic nomination for Sheriff last night. Willie and I have run against each other before in 2014. Clearly, voters in Wake County are looking for a change in the management and operations of the Sheriff’s office. With the general election set, I will mount a vigorous campaign detailing my plans for a safer Wake County for everyone,” Harrison said. “I will work to put more deputies in our neighborhoods and communities. I will work with our county commissioners to address the mental health and substance abuse crisis we are facing in Wake County. I will be accessible, accountable, and transparent. I am looking forward to the election – knowing Wake County aren’t happy with the status quo.”
Tuesday night’s runoff winner will face Harrison in the general election in November.