Delegate Larry Kump, R-Berkeley, was among the few to oppose the constitutional amendment, although he admits it was a tough decision. Second-term Sheriff Vince Shambaugh of Morgan County is "a super guy," Kump said, eminently qualified, with a military background, a professional attitude and popularity among constituents.
"I agonized about that vote," he said. "I really did. But the policy trumps the personal."
Kump opposes the idea that anyone can make a career of elective office, and he supports term limits for everyone, including legislators.
"I just have a deep philosophical problem," he said, "with any elected official, at any level of government, being allowed to run for unlimited terms."
Kump says he understands the arguments for change, but he argues that there are other ways to encourage people to run, such as increasing and guaranteeing pension benefits for sheriffs who complete the maximum eight years.
"I also would be willing to accept more than two terms of office for sheriffs," Kump said, "but not an elimination of term limitations."
The state association said past support for term limits stemmed from the fact that West Virginia has what's called "a high sheriff," in charge of collecting taxes while also the chief law enforcement officer.
Residents worried that a rogue sheriff would charge and collect whatever he wants, hire friends and family as deputies, and mistreat others at will.
However, times have changed.
"Now, it's audited like any other business," Raynes-Kidder said, "and we have a Civil Service Code, so you can't mistreat your officers. There are internal powers now that basically police the system."
Wirt County's Wilson said he's heard similar concerns there.
"There are so many people that are watching," he said. "We are so closely watched by the state auditor that they can tell us when we're off the books by 40 cents. The 'powerful' part of it is just not there."
What is there, Wilson said, is a lot more work for a sheriff who wants it.
"That's my biggest objection," he said. "I've got so many things that are going to take years to finish. If the terms don't get extended, I'm not going to be able to see those things through."