TARRANT COUNTY - The race for Tarrant County Sheriff is very close and will head to a runoff.
Incumbent Dee Anderson ran a low-key race to defend the office he’s held for 16 years. He fell short just short of a majority thanks to a candidate who dropped out, but was still on the ballot.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, retired Dalworthington Gardens Police Chief Bill Waybourn trailed with 41 percent of the vote.
John Garris had 11 percent of the vote. Only the top two candidates will move on to a runoff.
The winner of the Republican primary runoff will become the next sheriff because there is no Democratic candidate.
Fox 4 covered both candidates Tuesday night. Anderson did not host a traditional watch party, instead opting to watch election results from his home. Waybourn and his supporters tracked results from Saljo's Pizza in Pantego, Texas.
Waybourn is familiar to many voters, both as a longtime police chief and friend to famed American Sniper Chris Kyle and his widow Taya. Incumbent sheriff Dee Anderson has also been very visible, most recently giving frequent updates on the status of "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch.
Waybourn said prior to Tuesday's election that it's time for a change at the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.
"I believe it is us out in the community creating relationships with everybody the whole county in order to prevent things like Baltimore and things like Ferguson,” Waybourn said, discussing his approach. “It's knowing those formal and informal leaders in the community who will turn tide on that."
Waybourn is also known for instituting mandatory blood draws for DWI suspects who refuse a breathalyzer test.
He has raised more money than Anderson and has big-name endorsements like actor Chuck Norris, former governor Rick Perry and Chris Kyle's widow Taya, who is also his treasurer. Police associations from Arlington and Fort Worth also support Waybourn.
"The troops are saying it the elected leadership is saying it and the former appointed leaders are saying we need change,” he said.
Anderson said he believes he’s been effective in his 16 years in office and can still be effective for another term.
When he was elected sheriff 16 years ago, the office was dealing with problems and bad publicity. Anderson said he's cleaned it up and he boasts a well-run jail that he said consistently comes in under budget.
Anderson previously worked as the public information officer at the Arlington Police Department and had a prominent role in the creation of the Amber Alert system.
"We do everything that we're required to do we do everything that we want to do and more and I think the record speaks for itself I've done exactly what the voters asked me to do," Anderson said.
Anderson has been endorsed by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and District Attorney Sharen Wilson.
He said doesn't expect law enforcement unions to support him.
"The simple answer to that is that I'm management and they're union and anytime you're on the management side union is not going to favor that," he said.