Joe Killian, NC Policy Watch, November 7, 2018
[North Carolina’s] seven largest counties – Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake — all elected black men to their county’s top law enforcement positions. Five of those counties — Buncombe, Cumberland, Guilford, Durham, Forsyth — did so for the first time ever.
Each of the new sheriffs will replace a white man in those roles, several of whom are are long-serving GOP institutions in their counties.
Issues of racial profiling, advancement of minorities and immigration played a part in the campaign.
In Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright has already been serving as sheriff, appointed by the county commissioners after the retirement of his predecessor, Moose Butler. With last night’s election, Wright becomes the first elected black sheriff in Cumberland. Butler, a Democrat himself, retired two years into his sixth term. He endorsed Wright.
A national discussion of racial inequities in policing led to more black sheriff’s candidates this year and those issues playing a larger role in general elections.