(Headline USA) Former deputy Willie Rowe beat leftist incumbent Gerald Baker in Tuesday’s run-off election for the Democrat nomination in the Wake County, N.C., sheriff’s race.
The win sets up Rowe to face former four-term Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison in November.
Rowe’s victory over Baker, whose soft-on-crime policies led to a spike in violent crime in Wake County, wasn’t even close. He won more than 75% of the primary vote with all precincts reporting.
He beat Baker in the May primary as well, earning just under 30% of the vote while Baker won 24%. But Baker demanded a runoff, which is legally permissible in North Carolina if a candidate doesn’t win more than 30% of the votes in a partisan election.
Rowe, who served in the Wake County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years, vowed to make Wake County a safer place and rejected the anti-police policies pushed by Baker and other leftists.
“We can do it by improving morale at the sheriff’s office by increasing staffing, improving the working conditions and just working together as a team,” Rowe said.
Baker said that, despite his loss, he was proud of the last four years.
“The voters have spoken and that’s fine. I’m fine with that,” he said.
“We’ve been working hard. This office is serving the county. Tonight’s results sets this office back about four years, and come November, going to see it set back about 16 years. That’s neither here nor there at this point.”
Baker also denied the allegations that morale in the Wake County Sheriff’s Office is at a new low because of his policies.
“Morale in this office is better than it’s ever been, and I know that because I’ve been here. I know that morale issues are going to be there. You’re talking about an agency that employs 1,000 human beings,” he said.
Baker is perhaps best known for ending Wake County’s cooperation agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a move that increased the number of illegal immigrants in the county significantly.
When Baker ended Wake County’s 287(g) agreement, transfers of illegal aliens to ICE dropped from 1,556 in 2018 to just two in 2019.