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Northern Panhandle Candidate Filings at Deadline Offer A Few Surprises

WHEELING — Current Ohio County Board of Education President Zach Abraham will seek a county commission seat in 2020.

Abraham was among local candidates filing on the last day — Saturday– for the May 12 primary election ballot in West Virginia.

Prospective candidates had until midnight Saturday to submit their paperwork — which they did either at local courthouses, at the Secretary of State’s Office in Charleston, or by mail.

It is expected additional candidate filings will arrive by mail in the coming days, and names of those candidates will be added to candidate lists. The mailed filings must be postmarked prior to Jan. 25 to be accepted.

Abraham filed as a Republican for Ohio County Commission seat presently occupied by Commissioner Tim McCormick. He will face two other Republicans for the the GOP nomination — Jim Kleeh and Cecilea Moore.

McCormick will run unopposed on the Democrat ticket.

Abraham will not seek re-election to the Ohio County Board of Education this year, and his colleague Sarah Koegler also did not file for re-election prior to Saturday’s deadline. This could result in two new members on the five-member board.

Candidates filing in the race are Peter Chacalos, John L. Gearry, Charlie Hercules, H. Scott Mumper, Grace Norton and Karen Shuler Stakem.

In other Ohio County races, Prosecuting Attorney Scott R. Smith and Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard both filed for re-election on the Democrat ticket.

Also filing for re-election as a Democrat was Assessor Tiffany Hoffman. Republican Katrina Taylor filed in the race.

Magistrates Charles Murphy in Division 1, Patricia “Patty” Murphy in Division 2, and Joe Roxby in Division 3 all will seek re-election, and no one filed against any of these three magistrates prior to Saturday’s deadline.

Three candidates, filed for the 3rd Division magistrate’s seat — Johnny Carl Bitzer Jr., John Powell and Janine Varner.

Varner was appointed last year to the magistrate seat previously occupied by Harry Radcliffe. She is presently serving in the role.

In Wheeling, the mayor and city council members have come under fire for the imposition of a user fee tax, which would be used to pay for construction of a public service building and infrastructure improvements in the city. The controversy generated interest in the races for mayor and city council this year.

Mayor Glenn Elliott faces opposition from three opponents — Tony Domenick, Chris Hamm and Jerry Jacobs.

Vice Mayor Chad Thalman, who represents Ward 1 on council, will be challenged by John Bishop.

Ward 2 Councilman Ken Imer was among the last filers on Saturday. Also seeking the Ward 2 council seat are Charles Ballouz, Alex Coogan, Joe Key and Ben Seidler.

In Ward 3, Councilman Melinda Koslik did not file for re-election. Those who did file in the race are Jerome “Jake” Henry, Rosemary Ketchum, Erik Marple and Peggy Niebergall.

Also not seeking re-election in 2020 is Ward 4 Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday. Candidates for the seat are Crissy Clutter, Jeff Knierim and Jerry Sklavounakis.

Councilman Ty Thorngate in Ward 5 faces opposition from Brandon Criswell, Phil Huffner and Travis McKinley.

Councilman Dave Palmer was the only candidate to file in Ward 6.

Legislative races in the Northern Panhandle also will see a number of contested races this year.

State Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, currently is awaiting trial on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a prostitute. He did file for re-election to his 2nd District seat, and faces opposition in the GOP primary from Elijah Dean.

Carla Jones is the only candidate filing on the Democrat ticket for the 2nd District seat.

In the 1st District State Senate race, Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, faces opposition on the GOP ticket from Weirton resident Jack Newbrough.

Current Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock, will seek the 1st District Senate seat on the Democrat ballot, and won’t seek re-election to his 1st District House seat.

Two delegates will be elected to the House of Delegates in the 1st District. Delegate Patrick McGeehan, R-Hancock, will seek re-election, and joining him on the GOP ticket is former delegate Mark Zatezalo, R-Hancock.

Another former delegate, Ronnie Jones, will run on the Democrat side.

Two delegates also will be elected in the 3rd District. Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, is the only candidate on the Democrat ballot, while Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, and Dalton Haas are the GOP candidates.

One of two seats in the 4th House District has opened up as Delegate Joe Canestraro, D-Marshall, has opted to instead seek the office of Marshall County prosecutor.

Delegate Lisa Zukoff, D-Marshall, will seek re-election and she will be joined on the Democrat ticket by attorney Christian Turak.

Charlie Reynolds has filed for a 4th District seat on the Republican side.

In the 5th District, Delegate David Pethtel, D-Wetzel, has filed for re-election, and Phillip W. Wiley filed for the GOP nomination.

Delegates Phillip Diserio, D-Brooke, in the 2nd District, and David Kelly, R-Tyler, in the 6th District both filed for re-election and are the only candidates in their races.

(See a list of all Northern Panhandle filings here )

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