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Sheriffs cruising to wins in Berkeley, Jefferson

November 07, 2012

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Jefferson County voters Tuesday guaranteed Democratic Sheriff Robert Shirley a second four-year term with a slim 10,620 to 10,216 victory over former deputy Earl Ballenger, his Republican opponent, according to complete, but unofficial returns from all 32 precincts.

Whether Shirley, 61, will be able to serve out his term depends on the outcome of his Jan. 22 trial in federal court in Martinsburg on Jan. 22. A federal grand jury indicted him for using unreasonable force in the arrest of a suspected bank robber in 2010 and obstruction of justice for allegedly falsifying a report on the incident. Shirley will have to step down as sheriff if convicted, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State.

Shirley, a 26-year veteran of the department, denied the charges. A court order prevents him from carrying his service weapon pending trial.

Shirley’s annual salary is $44,800 plus 2 percent of delinquent taxes collected below $15,000.

This was Ballenger’s first try at elected office.

In Martinsburg, W.Va. — Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth “Kenny” Lemaster was the leading vote getter in his re-election bid, fending off three challengers in an unusually crowded field, according to complete, but unofficial election results Tuesday night.

Lemaster, 56, of Martinsburg received 16,331 votes, finishing ahead of Republican James W. Barbour III of Martinsburg, who received 13,612 votes and independent third party candidate Carlton “Cootsie” DeHaven, 61, who received 5056 votes, according to results released by County Clerk John W. Small Jr.’s office.

The number of votes for official write-in candidate John Orem of Inwood, W.Va., will not be tallied until canvassing of the election is completed, according to Small. 

The Berkeley County sheriff is elected to a four-year term and receives a salary of $44,880.

Barbour, 45, defeated Orem, 44, in the May primary election to win the Republican Party’s nomination for sheriff, but Orem decided to re-enter the race as an official write-in candidate about two weeks later.

DeHaven filed to run as a third party candidate after he originally had decided not to file for office because of a family crisis.

Berkeley County Sheriff
James Barbour, R 13,612
Kenneth Lemaster, D (i) 16,331
Carlton Dehaven, Ind 5056
Total Write-In votes cast for sheriff: 930
Includes early voting and 66 of 66 precincts reporting

Jefferson County Sheriff
Robert E. Shirley, D (i) 10,620
Earl Ballenger, R 10,216
(i) = incumbent
Includes early voting and 32 of 32 precincts reporting

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