Republican Donnie Harrison served as Wake County sheriff for 16 years before he was ousted by Democrat Gerald Baker in 2018. Not satisfied with his legacy, Harrison is vying for another term, announcing his 2022 campaign Thursday.
“We are seeing rising crime rates in Wake County. We need a Sheriff who will work on the front lines with the brave men and women working to keep our county safe,” Harrison said in a press statement. “We need a Sheriff who can work with the County Commissioners, manage a budget, lead a team of deputies, detention officers, and support staff.”
Harrison was criticized for working with ICE through the 287g program, which used local law enforcement to aid federal officials in deporting immigrants in the community. Baker vowed to end the program, which he did promptly upon entering office. However, Baker’s term has not been without criticism, including rumors this summer of a federal investigation into his office.
Baker also plans to run for reelection.
Harrison’s campaign slogan is “make our community safer.” His priorities include increasing recruiting and retentions programs and adding more deputies on patrol. He also wants to “address the mental health crisis in the county” and combat the sale of fentanyl, a deadly opioid known for causing overdoses.
His slate does not, however, mention his position on working with ICE.
Harrison’s chances of retaking the office rely heavily on high Republican voter turnout in the increasingly blue Wake County. Short of a red wave, Baker’s chances are good for holding onto his seat. He beat Harrison by 9 points in 2018.
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