RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Incumbent Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker has called for a runoff election against Democratic challenger Willie Rowe.

Rowe, 62, won with 29.5 percent of the vote. This number is just shy of the 30 percent needed to avoid a runoff election.

Baker, who confirmed to CBS 17 that he is calling for a runoff, finished the primary with 24 percent of the ballots favoring him.

“We’ve been in this office, elected since 2018, we (have) been doing a lot of good things in this office,” Baker said.

Baker said he believes a crowded field of Democratic candidates impacted Tuesday’s results.

“I think it was an effort to split the vote,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rowe said he was happy to win the race Tuesday and wants to get staffing shortages minimized.

“We’re very excited about finishing first, we believe that our message did resonate with the voters,” Rowe said. “We have to address the staff shortage, get up to sufficient levels, we have to improve morale and working conditions and we have to improve our relationship with the communities.”

After talking to Baker on Thursday, he said there are 15 recruits in the training academy and the office has 50 vacancies. He said recruiting quality staff has been a consistent goal for his administration.

On the Republican ticket, former Sheriff Donnie Harrison was the clear winner, taking in 80 percent of the vote.

Whoever wins the July 26 runoff will face Harrison in the general election in November.