Presidential Race Tops Tuesday Ballot
WHEELING – Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the 2012 general election.
Polls in both West Virginia and Ohio open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The ballot is full of competitive races, from the presidential race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to the Ohio County Sheriff’s contest between Pat Butler and Tom Burgoyne.
Early voting also wrapped up Saturday in West Virginia, with strong numbers being recorded through the Northern Panhandle. As of late Saturday, elections officials reported 13,727 early voters – both in-person and absentee by mail – from Tyler to Hancock counties. That’s slightly less than 12 percent of the 115,707 registered voters in the Northern Panhandle.
Statewide, 159,785 West Virginians voted early, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. Of that number, 81,362 were Democrats; 56,327 were Republicans; 21,621 were independents; 103 belonged to the Mountain Party; and 372 listed some other party affiliation.
In 2008, 153,096 West Virginians voted early.
The race between Romney and Obama could come down to Ohio, as both candidates are spending much time in the Buckeye State during the final few days. The latest polling numbers show Ohio as a dead heat.
A race for U.S. Senate takes place in West Virginia between incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat; John Raese, a Republican; and Bob Henry Baber, a Mountain Party candidate.
In Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Josh Mandel.
A race for the U.S. House representing West Virginia’s 1st District takes place between incumbent Republican Rep. David B. McKinley and Democratic challenger Sue Thorn. Voters in Ohio’s 6th District see a contest between incumbent Rep. Bill Johnson, a Republican, and former Charles Wilson.
West Virginia state offices are on the ballot in 2012. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, is challenged by Republican Bill Maloney, Other Democratic incumbents also face strong Republican opposition – Secretary of State Natalie Tennant from Brian Savilla; Auditor Glen B. Gainer from Larry V. Faircloth; Treasurer John D. Perdue from Mike Hall; and Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw Jr. from Patrick Morrisey.
A new commissioner of agriculture will be elected from between Republican Kent Leonhardt and Democrat Walt Helmick.
Two members of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals will be elected from among four candidates – current Justice Robin Jean Davis and Letitia Chafin, both Democrats; and Allen Loughry and John Yoder, both Republicans.
Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate also will be elected on Tuesday. Candidates seeking the 1st District state Senate seat are Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, and Republican Pat McGeehan of Hancock County.
A House of Delegates race take place in the 1st District, where two are to be elected from among incumbents Delegates Ronnie Jones and Randy Swartzmiller, both D-Hancock, and Republicans Justin Bull and Carl Thompson.
In the 2nd District, voters select a delegate from between current Delegate Philip W. Diserio, D-Brooke and Republican Lynn Davis.
The 3rd District sees four candidates on the ballot with two to be elected from among Democrats Ryan Ferns and Shawn Fluharty and Republicans Erikka Storch and Larry Tighe. Ferns and Storch are the incumbents.
Two delegates also will be selected in the 4th District, and the candidates are incumbent Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall, Democrat David Sidiropolis and Republican David Evans.
In Ohio, a contested race for the Ohio Senate, 30th District, takes place between Lou Gentile, a Democrat, and Republican Shane Thompson. Voters also will select a representative in the new 95th Ohio House District between Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, and Democrat Charlie Daniels.
Ohio County sees a hotly contested race for sheriff between Sheriff Pat Butler, a Republican, and Thomas Burgoyne, a Democrat.
Also on the ballot are races for county commissioner between Democrat Orphy Klempa and Republican Patty Levenson; for prosecutor, between Democrat Scott R. Smith and Republican Worthy Paul; and for assessor, between Kathie Hoffman and Sharon Zelkowski,
Four magistrates are to be elected from among six candidates – Republicans Desiree Lyonette and Joe Roxby and Democrats Rose M. Humway, Charles Murphy, Patty Murphy and Harry Radcliffe.
In Marshall County, there’s a race for commission between incumbent Jason Padlow, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Bob Miller Jr., and county voters also will elect a new sheriff from between Kevin Cecil and Patrick R. Mull.
Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland faces a challenge from two independent candidates, Jerry Echemann and Doug Longenette, while Democrat Richard “Dick” Flanagan and Republican David Lucas are the candidates for sheriff,
County voters also will elect a new Western Division Court judge from among six candidates – Charles Bean, Eric Costine, John K. “Kevin” Flanagan, Todd Kildow, William Thomas and Helen Yonak.
A state issue in West Virginia asks voters if a current law prohibiting sheriffs from seeking two consecutive elected terms should be repealed, while another in Ohio creates a 12-person citizen commission to draw legislative and congressional district maps.
In Wheeling, residents decide whether to keep a city law requiring that two police officers ride in each cruiser on patrol.
The Switzerland of Ohio, Bellaire, Buckeye Local, Edison Local, and Indian Creek school districts all have issues on the ballot, as does the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School District.