Donnie Harrison won a fourth term as Wake County's sheriff after defeating Willie Rowe, a retired veteran sheriff's commander.
With 100 percent of precincts counted, Harrison had about 59 percent of the vote. Rowe was trailing the incumbent by more than 50,000 votes when he conceded the race just before 10 p.m.
"I have just spoken with Sheriff Harrison and congratulated him on his victory," Rowe said. "We gave it our best. There were a lot of things we could have done better. But you learn, adapt, adjust and move forward. It ain't over."
Rowe would not say if he would challenge Harrison again. Instead, he said he would "see how he could best serve Wake County in the future."
Harrison, a Republican first elected in 2002, has said the biggest need for his office is an increase in salaries. He noted that his employees are the lowest-paid in Wake County.
Harrison pointed to the positive impact the sheriff's office has had in the community including the addition of patrol cars on the streets, the opening of a state-of-the-art detention center and a new public safety center.
Harrison touted his other accomplishments:
• The sheriff's office had one K9 unit when he was elected; it now has 12.
• After fielding complaints about motorists speeding through neighborhoods, his department partnered with the State Highway Patrol to help stop speeders.
• The sheriff is using his school resource officers to work as mentors during a two-week summer camp and in a program to check on the welfare of elderly residents. So far, more than 100 elderly residents are registered with the program.
Rowe, a Democrat, served as a commander under Harrison for more than a decade and ended his career last year as a major. He criticized Harrison's law enforcement philosophy as "reactive" and said the main difference between his approach and the incumbent's was "vision."
Harrison said that despite Rowe's claims his office is "very proactive."
"I believe in community policing," Harrison said. "I try to get everyone involved."