Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A local businessman has won a seat on the Mercer County Commission. Republican Gene Buckner defeated Democrat Terry Hughes in one of the most watched local races in Mercer County.
With 51 of 51 precincts reporting, Buckner was the winner with 11,503 votes followed by 8,753 votes for Hughes, according to unofficial and final results.
Buckner said the win felt good and was a long time coming. He also said he appreciated the votes and Hughes’ campaign.
“Terry is a good opponent,” Buckner said. “He is good feller. I wouldn’t take anything away from him. He had some good ideas and I hope we can work together in the future.”
Buckner, who has worked as the owner and operator of the NAPA Auto Parts stores in Bluefield and Princeton for the past 35 years, has been married to Diane Buckner for 40 years. They have two children. Buckner defeated fellow Republican Marshall Mann in May.
Hughes won the Democratic nomination in the May primary after defeating incumbent Democrat Jay Mills.
Hughes is a former teacher and coach and has worked for the Mercer County Board of Education for 28 years.
He has served on the board of directors of the Mercer County Economic Opportunity Corp., the board of trustees of the Princeton Elks Lodge, the board of trustees of Princeton Rescue Squad, the board of directors of Princeton Community Hospital and the board of directors of the Southern Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
He has been married to his wife Denise for 32 years, and the couple has two children.
Hughes offered his congratulations to Buckner.
“He is a great man. I think he will do a great job,” Hughes said. “I appreciate all the people who voted for me. I will never forget them for their support.”
Buckner won a commission seat two years ago only to have his victory vacated because he had moved from the district he was elected to represent. Mike Vinciguerra, who lost to Buckner by 1,700 votes, was later appointed to the commission seat.
Buckner said he choose to run for the commissioner seat to give the people of Mercer County another voice.
“The people of the county deserves that,” he said. “They voted me in two years ago and I didn’t get to take the seat.”
Buckner will take office on Jan. 1.
He plans to get acquainted with the duties and roles of a county commissioner and then start a relationship with the people of Mercer County. He wants residents to understand the role of a commissioner as well.
“I would like to open the county to the people and get people involved in the meetings,” Buckner said.
— Contact Jamie Parsell at firstname.lastname@example.org.