Primary Election Season in Bloom
By JOSELYN KING
WHEELING — A sure sign of spring is the sight of primary election signs sprouting up alongside tulips and daffodils.
The primary election happens May 8 in West Virginia. Those not presently registered to vote — or needing to update information on their registration — have until April 17 to make the changes.
In-person early voting begins April 25 at courthouses across the Mountain State, and continues through May 5. Voting will take place on Saturdays, but offices will be closed on Sundays.
West Virginia voters will be deciding this year what will probably be one of the most closely-watched contests in the nation, the race for the U.S. Senate seat presently occupied by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Manchin faces opposition in the Democrat primary from Paula Jean Swearengin of Coal City, W.Va.
A hotly-contested race on the Republican side, meanwhile, sees six candidates — former Massey Coal CEO Don Blankenship; Bo Copley of Delbarton.; Rep. Evan Jenkins; State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey; Jack Newbrough of Weirton; and Tom Willis of Martinsburg, W.Va.
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., is running unopposed on the GOP ticket for West Virginia’s 1st District House seat, while there are three candidates in the Democrat race — former Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe CEO Ralph Baxter of Wheeling; West Virginia University law professor Kendra Fershee of Morgantown; and Tom Payne of Keyser.
At the state level, there are no contested races for the nomination to the 1st District Senate seat as Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, and former U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, a Democrat, each run unopposed on their party’s ticket.
There will be a contested race for the District 2 Senate seat Democrat nomination between Carla J. Jones and Denny Longwell. Sen. Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, is running unopposed on the GOP ticket.
Among House of Delegates races, the 1st and 2nd districts have no contested races.
Republican candidates in the 1st District — where two delegates will be elected — are incumbent delegates Pat McGeehan and Mark Zatezalo. The Democrats are Diana Magnone and Randy Swartzmiller.
Just one delegate is elected in the 2nd Distinct, where Delegate Phil Diserio, D-Brooke, is running unopposed. Grace Davis is the GOP candidate.
In House District 3, Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, is seeking re-election. Two delegates will be nominated on the GOP ticket from among Storch, Dalton Haas and Larry Tighe. Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, is running unopposed on the Democrat side.
Two delegates will be elected in District 4, where Delegate Joe Canestraro, D-Marshall, and Lisa Zukoff are the Democrat candidates. Charlie Reynolds is the only Republican candidate.
In District 5, Delegate David Pethtel, D-Wetzel is running unopposed, while Phillip Wiley is on the GOP ticket.
District 6 sees a race for the Republican nomination between David Kelly and Alex King, and T. Chris Combs is the Democrat candidate.
Contested races also are taking place at the county and local level,
∫ Brooke County sees a contested primary race among Democrats for county commission between John Anthony Casinelli and A.J. Thomas.
Three board of education members are to be elected from among eight candidates — Chris Byers, Pam Dudley, Stacy Hooper, Jamie Lancaster, Jim Lazear, Ted Pauls, Ralph Smith and Andrew Williams.
∫ In Hancock County, Republicans Tommy Ogden and Mark R. Tetrault are vying for the GOP nomination to a county commission seat.
There are three board of education seats up for election, and six candidates on the ballot. They are Michelle Chappell, Seth Cheuvront, Gabby Fighiroae, Toni Hinerman, Danny Kaser and Larry Shaw.
A conservation district supervisor race sees two candidates, Jim Anderson and Charles L. Pugh
∫ In Marshall County, former county commissioner Jake Padlow is seeking the Democrat nomination to return to the commission. He faces a challenge from current Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall.
Voters will choose three board of education members from among Brenda Coffield, Tom Gilbert, Duane Miller, Christie Robison and Gene Saunders.
There are contested council races in Glen Dale and McMechen, as well as a mayor’s race in McMechen.
∫ A race for board of education in Ohio County sees three to be elected, and four candidates in the race. Incumbent board member Christine Carder is seeking re-election, while others in the race include Molly Aderholt, David R. Croft and Karen Shuler-Stakem.
∫ Eight candidates are in the race for a Tyler County commission seat, including six Republicans and two Democrats.
Republicans in the race are Rosanne Eastham, Rod Fitzwater, Mike Galluzzo, Michael “Mike” Smith, Scott W. Strode and Steven Thomas. The Democrats are Julia Archer and Charlie Delauder.
Nine candidates, meanwhile, want to serve on the board of education. Voters will select three members from among Julia A. Bolin, Katrina Byers, Roger Kimble, James E. Mason, Tarina Dawn Morris, Alex Northcraft, Dave “D-Bob” Roberts, Larry Thomas and Ralph Thomas.
∫ Wetzel County Democrats will select a nominee for county commission in a race between Gregory A. Morris and BB Smith.
Voters countywide will select three school board members, and candidates in the race include Amy Cooley, Brian Price, H. John Rogers, and Jay Yeager.
Carroll Cumberledge and Holly (Morgan) Giovinazzo are seeking the conservation district supervisor’s job.
Contested races for council and clerk/recorder will take place in New Martinsville.