George Sitler

Mercer Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler, seen in this file photo, is one of many incumbents who formally filed to seek another term in the local elections to be held later this year.

PRINCETON — Several incumbents for local offices and two candidates for the 27th District House race made their intentions known Monday as they officially tossed their hats into the right for the 2020 election.

Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler will seek another term.

Sitler, a Republican, has worked in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since Jan. 1, 2005, elected to his current position in 2016.

 “I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made to improve services to crime victims in our county,” he said. “During my term, we’ve secured over $250,000.00 in federal grant funding for additional child abuse prosecutors, investigators and victim advocates. My office has brought 30 serious felony cases to trial, obtaining the most severe penalties available under our laws.”

Sitler said his office has “also worked with our law enforcement agencies and school administrators to improve security in Mercer County Schools. I have worked with our local legislators to sponsor legislation to increase the penalties for crimes resulting to injuries to children, distracted driving, and methamphetamine distribution.”

“I have tried more child abuse, sexual assault and murder cases than any attorney currently practicing in our county, and want to continue serving Mercer County’s citizens in the pursuit of justice,“ he said.

Sheriff Tommy Bailey, a Republican, was also elected in 2016 and will seek another term.

“I what to keep building on what my chief deputy (Joe Parks) and I have done in my first term,” he said. “We have brought the sheriff’s office up to date. We are working on getting body cameras for all of the deputies and I still want to have substations out in the county.”

Bailey said he also looking to hire more deputies.

Greg Puckett, who holds the only county commission on the ballot this year, has not filed yet but affirmed he intends to do so

According to the registrar’s office, all incumbent magistrates have filed, including Mike Flanigan, District 1; Sandra Dorsey, District 3; Charles Poe, District 4; and William Holroyd, District 5.

Keith Compton has filed as a candidate for magistrate for District 3 in the non-partisan race.

Incumbent Assessor Sharon Gearhart, a Democrat, as well as incumbent Mercer County School Board member Paul Hodges also filed on Monday. School board races are non-partisan.

Former Del. Marty Gearheart, a Republican, on Monday filed in Charleston for a seat representing the 27th District, which will have all three seats up for grabs this year.

“Southern West Virginia voters have allowed me to represent them and it has been humbling to have been extended the honor of serving Mercer and Raleigh County in the West Virginia House of Delegates,” Gearheart said on his previous terms of serving. “Much has been accomplished recently but much is left to do. I look forward to the 2020 campaign where I can discuss and debate keeping West Virginia great and how we can continue to become greater. My record will show that I am battle tested and am a conservative with a heart for West Virginia. I look forward to a spirited campaign.”

Tina Russell, a Democrat, also has filed for one of the three seats.

Del. John Shott is not running for reelection. The other two seats are held by Del. Dr. Joe Ellington and Eric Porterfield, both Republicans. They have not yet filed or issued a statement about their intentions.

State Sen. Chandler Swope, R-6th District, also filed for reelection on Monday.

In McDowell County, Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy James “Boomer” Muncy has filed to run for the office of sheriff.

Joseph Jones has also filed to run for that office. Both are Democrats.

Current Sheriff Martin West, a Republican, is not seeking reelection and has filed to run for the office of county assessor.

Gary Hall, Democrat, has also filed to run for assessor.

The current assessor is A. Ray Bailey, who has not filed or announced his intentions.

All incumbent magistrates have filed in the non-partisan race with Steve Cox, District 1, Richard Van Dyke, District 2, and Danny Mitchell, District 3, making their reelection bids official.

In the school board race, incumbents Mike Callaway and David Williams have filed as well as Georgia Muncey West.

Candidates have until Jan. 25 to file for office.

— Contact Charles Boothe at

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