McCarthy wins tight race for magistrate

November 8, 2018
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HUNTINGTON — It was a tight race all night, but in the end Mike McCarthy won the race for Cabell County magistrate in Division 6 by a mere 764 votes.

With all 71 precincts reporting, McCarthy had 10,058 votes, or 38.22 percent, while Scott Bias had 9,294 votes, or 35.32 percent, and Dale Burns had 6,908 votes, or 26.25 percent. There were also 53 write-in votes, or .2 percent.

The single magistrate position came open after the July retirement of Darrell Black, who cited health concerns and wishes to spend more time with family as reasons for his departure. McCarthy was appointed to the position by Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard in August.

McCarthy, 63, spent 27 years with the West Virginia State Police and then 11 years on the state parole board. He said his law enforcement experience and time spent in the magistrate position so far have given him the tools he needs to remain on the bench.

McCarthy was not available for comment after the unofficial election results were announced.

Bias, 66, has previously served as a county commissioner for six years and later a magistrate for four years until he was bested in the 2016 election.

“I ran on my reputation and spent only $1,370, while my opponents spent well above that, so I am very pleased with my results,” he said. “I really didn’t make up my mind to run until the last second, and I had no political machine backing me, so I truly appreciate all those who supported me in this election.”

Burns, 63, had more than 20 years of combined experience in law enforcement, including his work as a Huntington police officer and 20 years as a business owner and operator of Prime Copy Plus. While Burns has no magistrate experience, he said he spent years in the court as a law enforcement officer and for civil matters surrounding his business ownership. He said that combination is what made him a unique candidate.

“First, I want to congratulate Mike and also congratulate Scott,” Burns said. “They both ran a good and very competitive race. I also want to thank all of those who supported me in this race.”

Burns said this was his first time running for office and he looks forward to running again in 2020.

“I really enjoyed the process and wish I could have met more voters,” he said. “I feel I achieved my goal, and I look forward to running in 2020.”

The magistrate position is set in four-year terms, with an election scheduled in the 2020 primary race for each of Cabell’s seven magistrate seats. Judicial races are nonpartisan in West Virginia.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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