ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Belmont County has a new top cop - David Lucas, a Republican.
According to unofficial vote totals, residents chose Lucas with 16,508 votes over challenger Democrat Richard Flanagan, who received 13,859 votes.
Lucas, a St. Clairsville resident, retired from the sheriff's department in 2007 and has 28 years of law enforcement experience. He once served as head of security at the Belmont County Courthouse. Before joining the sheriff's department, he worked for the Barnesville Police Department.
''I'm definitely humbled and grateful to the voters of Belmont County,'' Lucas said. ''I want to thank the voters for putting their faith in me. I want to work every day to keep them safe and earn the trust they placed in me as sheriff.''
Lucas also congratulated his opponent for running a clean campaign.
He also thanked his wife, Bobbie, family and volunteers for their love and support. He noted he is looking forward to making a smooth transition into office by working with current Sheriff Fred Thompson.
Flanagan, a lieutenant with the Bellaire Police Department, last March defeated Thompson for the Democratic nomination. He has worked in law enforcement for 17 years.