Democrat Ennis Wright will serve another term as Cumberland County sheriff after defeating Republican challenger LaRue Windham in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial returns.
Wright, 63, received 49,275 votes, or 60% of the ballot count, compared with 32,797 votes, or almost 40%, for Windham, according to unofficial results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Wright did not respond to a request for comment.
Wright was appointed sheriff in 2017 and was first elected in 2018. He is a Fayetteville native who has spent almost 30 years in law enforcement. Before he was named sheriff, he served as the chief deputy, supervising the entire Sheriff’s Office. In his first term, he initiated the Citizens Academy, which connects and educates the public with services available through the Sheriff’s Office.
He is a graduate of Terry Sanford High School and attended basic training and individual training at Fort Knox and was an honors graduate. He ended his military career honorably and attended basic law enforcement training at Robeson Community College in Lumberton. He worked with the Spring Lake Police Department before joining the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office as a road deputy.
Windham, 63, a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, said he had hoped to bring trust back to the Sheriff’s Office, where he once worked as a deputy operations commander. Windham worked in the N.C. Department of Correction in a special operations unit and as the training coordinator at the Morrison Correctional Institution (now Richmond Correctional Institution) in Richmond County before moving to probation and parole services for the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
“I’m definitely disappointed,’’ Windham said Tuesday night. “We thought we had a chance to pull this off, but I’d like to give praise and thanks to my supporters. I have some of the best supporters in Cumberland County. Congratulations to Wright and I hope things start to improve in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.’’