DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead won re-election Tuesday night, defeating challenger Maria Jocys.
Birkhead, who was elected in 2018 and serves on Gov. Roy Cooper's Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, won 90% of the vote during the Democratic primary.
"Thank you, Durham County, for your vote of confidence and support as I am humbled by the overwhelming support from our local community," Birkhead said during a victory speech before supporters in downtown Durham on Tuesday night. "The people have spoken loud and clear throughout the campaign and I do not take victory for granted. It has always been my honor to serve the people of Durham County and I look forward continuing the progress we have made as we now move forward to a second term."
In an interview with ABC11's Josh Chapin in October, Birkhead expressed concern with rising gun violence and shared plans to bring back Project Safe Neighborhoods, a partnership with the US Attorney's Office to identify those committing violent crimes.
"I'm proud of the accomplishments we have made in my first term as sheriff under some extraordinary circumstances," Birkhead said Tuesday. "The COVID-19 pandemic, national call for police reform, the tragic death of George Floyd - despite these challenges the men and women of the Durham County Sheriff's Office have answered the call to serve."
"I have worked with the Durham community for more than 30 years and I look forward to another four years of partnering with residents, community organizations, and law enforcement as we work together to achieve a safe community for all. We are 'One Community, One Durham,'" Birkhead added.
Jocys is a retired FBI agent who ran as an independent candidate.
An alum of East Carolina University, Jocys grew up in Durham and spent the past five years investigating gang violence in Durham.
Prior to her 24-year career with the FBI, she spent eight years with the Greenville Police Department, ultimately earning the rank of Detective.