PARKERSBURG- Three-term Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt was elected to his fourth term, defeating incumbent Sheriff Jeff Sandy in a close vote Tuesday.
According to unofficial results, Merritt, a Republican, garnered 16,569 votes, or 50.60 percent of the vote compared to 16,091 votes, or 49.14 percent for Sandy.
Merritt, who also served a term as Wood County commissioner, said he wants to look over the department before making any definite decisions on changes to the department.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Ken Merritt, right, who was elected to his fourth term as sheriff, with his wife, Linda, left, at the Wood County Courthouse Tuesday night.
"I'm sure there are things I need to look at but I'm not going to say I'm going to do this or that," he said Tuesday night. "There is a lot of responsibility I owe to the deputies and the citizens of Wood County."
In 2008, Merritt was defeated in his bid for a fourth term by Sandy.
Sandy said although he lost his re-election bid, he did accomplish his main goal as sheriff.
"I want to thank the citizens that voted for me over the past 14 days," he said. "Although I lost the election, I have no regrets on how my team operated the campaign and the Sheriff's Office. I believe that we accomplished what was needed to do to change the culture of the Sheriff' Office."
Sandy said in his four years as sheriff he promised a new approach and the efforts resulted in what he called sound audit reports from the state.
"Our modernization plan has made significant improvements to the quality of our services and productivity," he said. "The Major Crime Unit has solved significant crimes by new investigative techniques; our proactive fraud prevention program has saved citizens, especially seniors, over a million dollars from telephone, Internet, and mail scams."
Sandy said in his term the department has been $500,000 under budget since Jan. 1, 2009.