Wetzel and Tyler County Voters to Choose Leaders on May 13
McMechen Mayor Michael Gracik said he worked as hard as he could during his six years in office, but just could not bring himself to seek another four-year term in the May 13 election.
Gracik will leave office as the city deals with an aging water plant in need of an estimated $3.67 million worth of repairs and renovations. This is a matter he said he will fight for until the end of his term.
“It’s hard to make people happy. I am just kind of burnt out on it,” he said. “We have a fine water plant, but we have to put money into to keep the water supply stable for our residents.”
Seeking to replace Gracik as mayor are 2nd Ward Councilman Gregg Wolfe and Josephine “Jo Marie” Mackin. Running for election in McMechen’s 1st Ward are Councilwoman Nancy Boreman, Mike Mamula, Aaron Kwiatkoski, Courtnay Keller, Tim Smith and Karen Phipps. Other 1st Ward Councilman Eric Thornton is not seeking re-election.
Both 2nd Ward seats are up for grabs, as Wolfe is running for mayor, while Jill Hawkins is not running for another term. Voters will elect two out of three of David Goddard, Beth Martin and John McCombs Jr. Both 3rd Ward incumbents are seeking re-election, as voters their will select two out of three from Councilwoman Alice Hill, Councilwoman Pat Wilson and challenger Kevin Bratton.
As Gracik will leave office June 30, Marshall County Commissioner Don Mason is also not seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 1986. With Mason’s term expiring near the same time Commissioner Brian Schambach plans to resign due to personal reasons, the county’s senior commissioner will be Bob Miller, who took office following his narrow 2012 victory over former Commissioner Jason “Jake” Padlow.
Three Democrats – Mike Eskridge, former Delegate Scott Varner and Dennis “Denny” Wallace – are running to replace Mason, a Republican. The lone Republican on the ballot is Moundsville resident Fred Brunner.
Marshall County Clerk Jan Pest said the winner of this race, following the fall general election, will take office Jan. 1. If Schambach decides to resign before Jan. 1, Mason and Miller will appoint his successor. If Schambach waits until after Jan. 1 to resign, Miller and the new commissioner will appoint his replacement.
“It will be interesting, for sure,” Pest said.
Cameron Mayor Julie Beresford faces no opposition. However, 1st Ward voters will choose between Councilman Rocky Guzek and challengers Brian Marling and Mary Leichter; 2nd Ward voters will choose between Councilman Jack Hart Jr. and challengers Sherry Johnson and Joan Gardner; and 3rd Ward voters will select between Councilwoman Helen McMasters and challenger Greg Galentine. Councilmen Ron Walker, Tom Hart and Wayne Simmons have continuing terms.
Running for three seats on the Marshall County Board of Education are incumbents Roger Lewicki, Thomas Gilbert Jr. and Beth Phillips, along with challengers Thomas Stalnaker, Duane Miller, B. Beth Bertram, Chelsea Toth and Carl Boso.
There are no contested races in Benwood or Glen Dale. In Benwood, unchallenged incumbents on the ballot this year include councilmen Chuck Terry, Larry Ferrera III, Walter Yates and Bob Rose, as well as Police Chief Frank Longwell.
In Glen Dale, Mayor David Blazer, along with councilmen Elliott Grisell and Louis Richmond, will be unopposed on the ballot, as will Recorder Gerald Trembush.