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Democrats stage upsets in Upshur

by Annette Barnette

CORRESPONDENT

BUCKHANNON -- Upshur County residents will be seeing a few new faces in office come January.

Among them will be the county's first Democrat sheriff, Sherman Baxa, who beat incumbent Republican Larry Marsh.

Baxa received 4,894 votes compared to Marsh's 3,024 votes.

"I feel great. I've spent a lot of time on this campaign and the people have spoken. They desired a change in the community," Baxa said.

This is the first political run for the Upshur County native, who spent 20 years as a county officer in Maryland.

It looks like county residents will also have two new county commissioners. Democrat Kenny Davidson beat incumbent Republican Joyce Harris-Thacker to fill the unexpired term created by last year's death of county commissioner Fred Gaudet. Davidson picked up 4,204 votes, while Harris-Thacker received 3,619 votes.

"I feel good and I thank everyone who supported me. My hat goes off to Joyce, who ran a real nice, positive campaign," Davidson said.

The other new county commissioner will be Democrat Stephen Abel. He received 4,588 votes, beating Republican incumbent Rick Rice, who received 3,138 votes.

In the assessor's race, Republican incumbent Helen Waybright Phillips will hold onto her position. She received 5,092 votes, while her Democratic challenger Robert P. "Buddy" Jones received 2,696 votes.

Voter turnout in Upshur County was higher than normal, with more than 63 percent of voters heading to the polls.

The 23 precincts were tabulated about five hours after the polls closed.

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