Hancock County voters on Tuesday elected Republican Sheriff Mike White to one of three magistrate seats up for grabs, and chose incumbent Democrats Scott Hicks and Michael Powell to fill the other two.
With three seats up for grabs, the term-limited sheriff's strong showing left Democrat Betty Bauer, the county's longest-tenured magistrate at 22 years, the odd one out.
Hicks led all contestants with 7,107 votes, followed by White with 6,524, Powell with 6,181 and Bauer with 5,158.
White said he's excited to get started, learn the job and bring fresh ideas to his new position. He thanked his family for their support, and also the residents of Hancock County, who he said "have always treated me wonderful."
He said drug abuse remains one of the biggest problems he sees in the area, and noted he hopes the county's recent designation as a "high-intensity drug trafficking area" - enabling Congress to steer additional federal dollars to the area - will help fight that trend.
"It's tearing our community apart," he said of drug addiction.
White began his law enforcement career with the New Cumberland Police Department and joined the Hancock County Sheriff's Department in 1979. He served as chief deputy prior to his 2004 election as sheriff.
Both Hicks and Powell spent many years with the Weirton Police Department before becoming magistrates.
Hicks capped a 26-year career with the department by serving more than four years as Weirton's police chief until his 2008 appointment to fill another magistrate's unexpired term. Powell is serving his 14th year in his current post, and worked for 22 years on the Weirton police force, 19 of those as a detective.
Both agree with White that drugs and drug-related crimes are among the biggest problems they see in the community. Powell said he will "continue to do the job the way I've been doing it," and "address each case as it's brought before us" in a fair, impartial manner.
Hicks said he will work to "protect individuals' rights and always make the right decisions."