The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 7, 2012

Garry Wheeler wins race for sheriff in Summers

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

HINTON — While Summers County voted down a constitutional amendment that would allow sheriffs to seek a third consecutive term 71 to 64 percent, they voted in former Democratic Sheriff Garry Wheeler for a third non-consecutive term Tuesday.

Wheeler defeated incumbent Republican Edward Dolphin by 701 votes, winning 57.53 to 42.47 percent.

Wheeler said he felt confident going into the race, knowing the county and the people after previously serving eight years in office, 2001 to 2008.

“The drug problem is the No. 1 one thing we have to deal with and it is not an easy thing to do, but I am going to make it my priority. I plan on going back to my previous drug program and just get back into doing good law enforcement in the county,” he said.

Wheeler added that while it is difficult to patrol a large rural county with only six deputies, “it is doable and I have some new plans for Summers County.”

He looks forward to getting his feet planted again and getting started.

While Summers will see an old hat return to sheriff, they will also see a new face take Jerry Berry’s seat on the Summers County Commission.

Democrat Tony Williams beat Republican Jeff Lyon 57.92 to 42.08 percent and 2,614 votes to 1,899.

“I want to bring some youthfulness and energy to the commission while continuing to work on the growth the commission is pushing for right now. Hinton has a lot of opportunities, but we have to think outside the box and make them happen,” he said.

Williams said he realizes he is coming into the job new and expects to rely heavily on the experience of commissioners Bill Lightner and Jack David Woodrum to learn everything he can at first.

“I’m looking forward to working with Bill and Jack David. They are good assets to the county and I think we can make a lot of progress,” he added.

Woodrum said the commission, likewise, looks forward to working with Williams and will soon begin to walk him through basic training prior to his taking office.

Current Summers County Prosecutor Amy Leigh Mann, a Democrat, will retain her position after running unopposed.

Likewise, incumbent Democratic magistrates Jack Kennedy Hellems and J.W. “Bill” Jeffries Jr. ran uncontested as did current county assessor Gregory S. Vandall, also a Democrat.

Finally, Democrat Jeffery J. Chambers ran unopposed for county surveyor.

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