James Andreozzi of Follansbee narrowly defeated incumbent Brooke County Commissioner Marty Bartz in Tuesday's primary election, emerging from a field of 10 candidates to win the Democrat nomination for one of two open commission seats.
However, with just 39 votes separating the two, the contest still could hinge on next week's vote canvass, when officials will determine the validity of ballots cast provisionally.
Meanwhile, incumbent Democrat Tim Ennis - appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late Commissioner Bernie Kazienko - easily won his party's nominating to the seat over current county Sheriff Richard Ferguson, 2,525 to 1,755.
Andreozzi and Bartz garnered 719 and 680 votes, respectively. Other totals included Lenny DeWitt, 106; Janice McFadden, 442; Roy Givens, 388; John Bertram, 569; John Casinelli, 363, Richard McCullough, 339; Steve Tennant, 557; and Burt Jennings, 254.
Andreozzi could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Bartz, awaiting final tallies at the county courthouse, said he's proud of running a clean race and hopes the provisional ballots could sway the results in his favor.
Ennis thanked county voters for their support and said his primary goal over the next four years will be stopping the "hemorrhage" of population that seems to be plaguing Brooke County.
"Every time someone moves out of our area, we lose tax revenue," Ennis noted.