Clerks of circuit courts chosen

Shenandoah Clerk of Court candidate Sarona Irvin, center, chats with Denise Estep, left, clerk of court, and former commonwealth's attorney Al Mitchell, right at Central High School in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

Shenandoah and Warren counties will have new circuit court clerks on Jan. 1.

The pending retirement of longtime Clerk Denise Estep in Shenandoah County led to a five-way race for her office. In Warren County, longtime Clerk Jennifer Sims’ retirement opened the door for two candidates to run.

In Shenandoah County, Sarona S. Irvin won election to her first eight-year term as clerk, according to unofficial results provided by the Virginia Department of Elections. Irvin serves as chief deputy clerk under Estep. Voters chose Irvin over Democratic Party candidate Adam M. Sharp, Republican David A. George and independents Tammy L. Heishman and Lisa M. Long. Irvin ran as an independent when she lost the Republican Party nomination to George. Heishman is the clerk of the Shenandoah County General District Court. Long works as the office manager for the commonwealth’s attorney.

Warren County voters picked Daryl L. Funk to succeed longtime clerk Jennifer Sims, according to unofficial numbers provided by the Virginia Department of Elections. Funk, a member of Front Royal Town Council, ran as a Republican candidate. Middleburg Town Clerk Rhonda S. North ran against Funk as an independent candidate.

“Obviously I am honored by the support of the citizens across the county supporting my campaign for clerk of court,” Funk said. “I’ve said from the beginning that the goal of my campaign is to continue the legacy of Jennifer Sims and continue the great customer service.”

Sims has agreed to stay on to help advise Funk as he transitions into the position. Several other longtime employees in the office are retiring soon but also plan to help Funk as much as they can, he said.

“Over the next five to 10 years we’re going to be looking to do a lot with technology and so trying to increase access and accessibility so the people maintain trust in their court system,” Funk added.

Unofficial results in Warren County showed that Funk received 3,471 votes or 55.15 percent. North received 2,810 votes or 44.65 percent.

Unofficial results in Shenandoah County showed that Irvin received 3,099 votes or 31.78 percent. Heishman received 2,698 votes or 27.67 percent. George received 2,433 votes or 24.95 percent. Sharp received 870 votes or 8.92 percent. Long received 642 votes or 6.58 percent.

North thanked her supporters for their help.

“I think we fought a good race and I appreciate that I received from the citizens,” North said. “My husband and I got out and knocked on about 6,000 doors here in the county and I think that made a huge difference reaching out to the voters.

“But then also I worked for the town of Front Royal for many years and a lot of folks knew me and were familiar with my work and I think that reflects some of it as well,” North added.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com