HUNTINGTON — There will be one new Cabell County magistrate following the countywide nonpartisan election Tuesday.
With 70 of 71 precincts reporting, unofficial voting totals showed Kim Wolfe with a commanding lead over Carl Eastham, Tina Brooks and Sarah Spurlock, having tallied 8,528 votes to Eastham’s 2,932, Brooks’ 2,582 and Spurlock’s 3,602 in the Division 4 magistrate race for the open seat left by Rondall Baumgardner, who is retiring.
Wolfe contributed his big lead to his experience and name recognition. Wolfe spent 26 years at the Huntington Police Department, eight years as Cabell County sheriff, four years as mayor of Huntington, and he has also worked several other law enforcement jobs such as deputy chief of operations at the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority and currently as a bailiff at Kenova City Court.
“I did a good job in the public offices I have held in the past,” he said. “I have worked with all of the current magistrates and know them all personally. I was encouraged to run by retiring magistrate Rondall Baumgardner and was endorsed by World War II Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams. I think those factors helped me in this race.”
Wolfe’s ideals as Cabell County magistrate would include keeping the streets safe and streamlining the system.
“It has always been my top priority to protect the citizens I serve,” Wolfe said. “I’ve acquired connections and friendships through the years within the criminal justice system.”
Wolfe said during his tenure as mayor, his staff hired 24 additional police officers and the city had a drastic reduction in crime — and his priorities remain the same today.
“My priorities are obviously keeping the streets safe, and you have to get the criminals off the street,” he said.
In the other contested race in Division 6, incumbent Michael McCarthy also held a large lead with 9,285 votes to challenger Opal Sanders’ 6,846 votes.
McCarthy said he relied on his record and his approximately 40 years in public service. McCarthy worked 27 years with the West Virginia State Police and 11 years on the state parole board and said after spending his life in public service, his main priority has stayed the same — keeping the public safe.
“I think voters saw my record, and many of them voted for me based on that,” he said. “I love the job and want to thank everyone that supported me, and I also want to thank those that didn’t as well for taking the time to vote during this troubling time.”
Among some changes McCarthy would like to see is the continuation of a more streamlined court system, including the use of technology.
“We are doing better now, doing most of our hearings through Skype, and that is speeding everything up,” he said. “We want to get the good people out of jail quicker and speed up the process so these minor violations don’t have to spend time behind bars.”
Cabell County magistrates Chris Sperry from Division 1; Mike Woelfel from Division 2; Danne Vance from Division 3; Dan Ferguson from Division 5; and Dan Goheen from Division 7 were all unopposed and re-elected to serve a four-year term.