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Four incumbents likely to keep magistrate seats

November 03, 2004

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With nearly two-thirds of the county's precincts reporting, it appeared four of Berkeley County's five magistrates will return to their seats, while one challenger will sit on the bench for the first time.

Magistrates Joan Bragg, a Democrat; Kristy Greer, a Republican; Sandra Miller, a Democrat; and Harry Snow, a Republican, were leading in the vote count, according to incomplete, unofficial results at presstime.

Incumbent Scott Paugh, a Democrat, will likely not serve another term, having been ousted by newcomer JoAnn Overington, a Republican.

With 44 of the county's 59 precincts reporting, the candidates had received the following number of votes: Greer, 12,085; Bragg, 11,137; Miller, 11,127; Snow, 10,869; Overington, 10,496; Robert Lowe II, 9,093; Tom Grove, 9,084; Paugh, 8,281; and Ywatta "Nessy" Mitchell, 6,926.

Although magistrate candidates must identify with a party, the top five vote-getters were elected without regard to party affiliation.

Magistrates serve four-year terms and are paid $40,000 a year.

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When asked to discuss the position before the election, all of the candidates said a magistrate must be fair and impartial when presiding over cases.

Bragg, 57, has been a magistrate for 16 years, while Miller 59, has served as a magistrate for 12 years.

Greer, 41, served as a Martinsburg Municipal Court magistrate before being elected as a county magistrate in 2000.

Overington, 57, retired in 2001 after working for more than 30 years as a teacher. She is married to Del. John Overington, R-Berkeley.

Snow, 59, served for four years in the U.S. Navy and worked for 21 years as a Martinsburg Police officer.

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