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Bailey gets 4th commission term; Johnson is new Cabell assessor

Nov. 06, 2012 @ 11:55 PM

HUNTINGTON — Cabell County Commissioner Bob Bailey will get a fourth term, while Republican Irv Johnson will be the first new county assessor in more than 16 years, according to unofficial results.

Bailey defeated Republican challenger and local business owner Greg Riley, 15,442 to 14,742. Bailey, 72, asked voters for one last term before retiring, saying he wanted to be a part of the 2013 opening of the new ambulance station in Barboursville and continue his push to support the county’s senior population.

“I want to thank the voters very much,” Bailey said from the Cabell County Courthouse on Tuesday night. “I am and will continue to be a full-time commissioner. I’ll be in my office every day to serve (residents).”

Riley, the owner and operator of Ziebart/Z-tech in Huntington, said he launched his first bid for public office largely based on a conversation he said he had seven years ago with a sitting county commissioner. He said he asked why it cost $9 million to build the new 911 center and was told it could have been done for $5 million. He said he knew it wouldn’t be easy to unseat Bailey and said he had nothing bad to say about his opponent.

“He is entrenched in the position, and I was the newcomer,” Riley said, adding he doesn’t think he’ll run for public office again. “This will probably be it for me. I thought it would be one run to see how it goes.”

Riley also thanked the voters and said he envisions himself getting more involved with county initiatives as a volunteer.

Johnson, who owned Johnson Photo Plus with his parents for about 25 years, defeated Democrat Phyllis Kirtley Smith, 15,455 to 14,478.

Johnson, who also worked in real estate and is certified in property assessment through Allstate Insurance, said he thought the close results reflected the voters taking their time to assess the experience of he and Smith.

“She ran a great race,” he said. “Both of us were trying to get our qualifications out there, and I think the voters looked at our qualifications and backgrounds, which were different.”

Smith is the former human resources director for the Cabell County Commission and has served in various government capacities as Cabell County magistrate, city judge for Hurricane, Hamlin and West Hamlin, and a member of Milton City Council.