Political newcomer wins Mercer County Magistrate Division 3 race against eight year incumbent

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – The Mercer County elections last night had a few upsets, including a newcomer winning a magistrate seat against an incumbent who had been in the position for eight years prior. 

The incumbent Sandra Dorsey had been in the position for two consecutive terms, and newcomer Keith T. Compton had not had any experience as an elected official. Despite his newcomer status, he worked tirelessly throughout the campaign, and it seemed to pay dividends for him. 

“Yeah it was a tough race. It’s hard to beat an incumbent. We put up a good campaign. We did a lot of sign work, lot of stuff on social media,” Compton said.  

Compton knows the area well. Much of his support stemmed from his experience with the judicial system as a police officer.

“I’m from this area, I’ve been here for 25 years. I’m retired as a captain from the Princeton Police Department. So I know this county and I know the people in this county.”

However, Compton mostly only knows the system from the outside during his work as a police captain, he says it’s going to take some adjusting to get used to the system from this new point of view. 

“Even though I’ve been in the system, I’m gonna have to learn how the system works from inside. I’ve been on the outside as a police officer dealing with the court system. But as a magistrate, you’re sitting on the other side of the bench.”

To help solve this issue, Compton claims he’s going to shadow some of his colleagues who work as magistrates. He wants to get a good, first-hand understanding of the job from the inside before he starts. 

“I plan on going in early prior to taking the position. I have several friends who are magistrates, and I’ll spend some time with them, try to learn how the system works. And really just get adjusted for the first six months.”

Compton claims he wants to work on changing the local judicial system. He believes a lot of reform is needed and wants there to be equal non-biased rulings, and extra support systems set up for victims of crime. He will take office next year. 

Compton won the election with 53% of the vote.