Republican candidate Donald L. Hedrick narrowly defeated Democrat Gregory Chambers by 50 votes for the position of sheriff, according to unofficial results from Tuesday's general election in Pendleton County.
The election brought almost 60 percent of registered voters to the polls Tuesday, county officials said.
Hedrick grew up in the Brandywine/Sugar Grove area and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1986. He served in Bosnia, Guantanamo Bay, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
"I think my military background will really help me in this job," he said. "In Kosovo and Bosnia, I assisted local law enforcement in police actions. My main position was in a mediator/peace keeper position."
Hedrick also helped with cleanup after Hurricane Katrina. During local big snowstorms, he was on the emergency response coordination team in Augusta and Highland counties working on evacuation and emergency rescue missions.
Currently serving in the Army National Guard, Hedrick has a total of 23 years of military service.
"I'm proud to be elected as sheriff - I really wanted this job to make a difference in our community. My main focus will be on the drug issues in Pendleton County," Hedrick said Wednesday.
Both former Sheriffs Andrew Hinkle and Kevin E. Puffenberger easily won the two Pendleton County magistrate positions.
Write-in candidate Sandi Bennett received 737 votes, a large number for a write-in candidate, but not enough to overcome the 1,857 votes for Hinkle and 1,833 for Puffenberger.
Democratic candidate Isaac Sponaugle, with 59 percent of the votes from Hardy and Pendleton counties, won the House of Delegate seat for the 55th Delegate District over Republican candidate Stephen G. Smith.
Honored to be elected to the House, Sponaugle said he wanted to thank all the individuals who supported him.
"I'm truly appreciative of this opportunity and look forward to serving the interests of Hardy and Pendleton Counties in Charleston," he said Wednesday morning.