WHEELING - Following a bitter campaign against his former boss, Tom Burgoyne, Ohio County Sheriff Pat Butler will get to serve four more years in the office.
During the Tuesday general election, Republican Butler collected 8,992 votes, while Democrat Burgoyne took 8,083, according to the unofficial tally.
"I feel in the debates, I was able to distinguish myself. My 37 years in local law enforcement gave me the experience needed," Butler said after learning of his victory. "I don't scratch anyone's back. I don't feel politics should have anything to do with being a sheriff.
"I never took any (campaign) money. I have never taken a nickel that does not belong to me," Butler said, emphasizing again that he does not believe politics should play a role in working as a sheriff.
In 2008, outgoing Burgoyne endorsed his Republican chief deputy, Butler, who went on to defeat a Democrat opponent to become the current county sheriff. However, Burgoyne decided to challenge his former protege this year.
"Some of the guys wanted me to come back," Burgoyne said of the sheriff's deputies. "Pat was upset that I was running. I can't blame him for that. I wish him the best."
Burgoyne also said the interest in the race seemed to help lead to strong voter turnout in Ohio County.
"This was a race where both candidates worked really hard. I think the voters just wanted to give Pat a chance to serve his full eight years," Burgoyne said.
Over the next four years, Butler said the main problem facing Ohio County is the increase in prescription drug abuse.
"We are not going to end this problem with just law enforcement. We have to get more involved in the schools," he added. "We also need to focus on anti-bullying programs. We need to develop good relations with young people."