Circuit clerk race goes to outsider

NEW CUMBERLAND–The surprise outcome of Tuesday night was the defeat of Diane Dillon in the race for Hancock County Circuit Court clerk.

Dillon, a 25-year veteran of the office, including 12 years as chief deputy, received 5,661 votes to Republican Charles “Chuck” Wright’s 6,427 votes, according to unofficial results from the Hancock County Clerk’s Office.

Dillon started out the night with a healthy lead, but that lead evaporated as the night wore on and as more precincts reported in.

Even Wright, 63, a Weirton city councilman, expressed surprise at the outcome.

“Needless to say, I’m extremely happy and very much grateful to the voters of Hancock County for electing me to the position of circuit clerk,” Wright said. “I spent the last two or three days thinking this could go either way.”

The clerk’s office maintains all records for Circuit Court and Family Court, including divorces, child support orders, civil complaints, criminal complaints, adoptions, name changes, passports, and guardianship and paternity proceedings.

Wright credited the work of Dillon and of outgoing Clerk Brenda Jackson, who is leaving office at the end of the year.

“I’ve got nothing but respect for them,” he said. “I’m just happy I came out on top.”

A 1971 graduate of Weir High School, Wright worked at Weirton Steel for 30 years in the tin mill, management, inside sales and customer service. Since his retirement in 2003, he has worked at the Pittsburgh International Airport and for Hancock County Schools. He plans to keep his city council job if elected to the clerk’s office.