MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden held onto his office in Tuesday's Democratic primary, defeating challengers Gina Hicks and Marquis Robinson.
McFadden earned 51% of the vote, while Hicks took 38% and Robinson earned 10% of votes. There is no Republican primary, meaning McFadden will run unopposed in November's general election.
Hicks was a strong challenger with several key endorsements, including the Fraternal Order of Police. McFadden said he plans to be more open about his department moving forward.
"We're going to be transparent as we have been, but we want people to listen to the factual information and not stereotype us with the other agencies," McFadden said.
Both challengers said McFadden was responsible for high staff turnover at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, while McFadden blamed staffing shortages on the "Great Resignation."
"Mecklenburg County Jail is a safe place," McFadden said. "Mecklenburg County Detention Center, as I call it, is a great place and we give great care to our staff and our residents. And here's why. We've had over 1,200 COVID positive cases inside our detention center, over 1,200. Not one single resident has passed; 1,200 cases. So are we doing a better job than Novant? Are we doing a better job than Atrium? I would say yes because here we try to take care of our residents."
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the Mecklenburg County Jail failed to maintain enough staff members to keep the jail safe during a February inspection. DHHS inspectors found that some days were understaffed by as many as 27 people, far short of the fully staffed number of 80 staff members.
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