By Shawn Stinson
There will be a new person representing Pendleton County when the members of the 118th Congress take their oath of office.
West Virginia was one of seven states to lose a Congressional seat due to the 2020 Census. The state will have two representatives. The districts have been divided into a northern and southern district; the northern part of the state is now the 2nd District and the southern part is now the 1st District.
Previously, the 1st District covered the northern part of the state, the 2nd District stretched across the middle, from Charleston to the Eastern Panhandle and including Pendleton County, and the 3rd District covered the southern part of the state. Pendleton County is now included in the southern 1st District.
Rep. Alex X. Mooney (R) has represented the former 2nd District that included Pendleton County since winning the election in 2015. But this election season, he’ll no longer be campaigning to represent the county. Rep. David McKinley (R) and Mooney will battle for the Republican nomination in the newly formed 2nd District in the primary. McKinley has represented the former 1st District since 2011.
Incumbent Rep. Carol Miller (R), who won the election in 2019 to represent the former 3rd District, will campaign to represent Pendleton County for the first time.
Miller from Huntington will face four Republican challengers in the May primary. Joining Miller in the race for the Republican nomination are Scott Fuller of Kenova; James Edwin House of Mount Nebo; Zane Lawhorn of Princeton; and Kent Stevens of Milton. Lacy Watson from Bluefield is the lone Democrat to file for the race.
In addition to the new Congressional map, there is a new map for the House of Delegates. There are now 100 districts in the state. The eastern part of the county is now in the 86th District. Delegate Bryan C. Ward (R) of Fisher will seek re-election and is running unopposed in the Republican primary. On the Democrat side, Jameson Paul Freeman from Moorefield and Bradley “BJ” Rinard from Wardensville, will square off to face Ward in November’s General Election.
It is currently a two-person race to represent the western part of the county in the newly created 67th District. Incumbent Cody H. Thompson (D) is running unopposed in the primary as is Republican Elias Coop-Gonzalez. Both Thompson and Coop-Gonzalez reside in Elkins.
There will be two female and two male Senatorial district seats up for grabs on the Democrat and Republican state executive committees.
Five females have filed for the Democrat seat – Margaret Kerr Beckwith from Elkins; Emily Starks from Philippi; Julia Rossi Stevenson from Elkins; Rachel B. Tompkins from Marlinton; and Brenda Weese from Elkins. Frank P. Bush Jr. of Elkins, Farukh Khan of Elkins, Adam Starks of Philippi and Thompson are on the ballot for the male seats on the state executive committee.
Just like their counterparts on the Democrat side of the ticket, five females filed for the two available Republican Senatorial District seats. Lindsay Bever from Buckhannon; Cristin C. Dusenbury from Elkins; Amy Karnes from Helvetia; Karen G. McCoy from Hillsboro; and Lisa Weese from Bellington will square off in May.
It will be a more crowded field for the two Republican Senatorial male seats as seven candidates submitted their names. Gary Connell of Buckhannon; Rhett P. Dusenbury of Elkins; Max Grove of Bellington; Robert Karnes of Helvetia; Phillips B. Kolsun of Elkins; Carl “Robbie” Martin of Buckhannon; and Gregory T. Murphy of Volga filed for the contest.
Three incumbents are running unopposed in county races in the primary election. Gene McConnell (R) from Circleville is seeking another six-year term on the county commission and is unopposed. Elise White (D) of Brandywine has no challengers to win re-election as county clerk. Shalee Dunkle Wilburn (D) from Franklin is also unopposed in her re-election bid for circuit clerk.
Three members of the Pendleton County Board of Education are unopposed in their bids for re-election. The race is non-partisan. Charles F. Burgoyne (central) from Franklin, Teresa Walker Heavner (eastern) from Franklin, and J.D. Wilkins (western) from Riverton do not have opposition to return to their seats on the school board.
Charlotte R. Hoover of Sugar Grove is unchallenged in her re-election bid as conservation district supervisor.
Early voting is scheduled for April 27 to May 7 in the Pendleton County Courthouse. Primary Election Day is set for May 10 at the various district polling places. Polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day will be accepted through May 16. Members of the Pendleton County Commission are set to canvass the election returns on the same day.
Early voting for the General Election is scheduled for Oct. 26 to Nov. 5 in the county courthouse. Voting for the General Election is set for Nov. 8.
The Town of Franklin has its election set for June 14. Early voting will run from June 1 to 11 at the town office.
Bob Horan and Bruce Minor are seeking re-election as mayor and recorder, respectively. Kristin Dingess, Genevieve Glover and Edwin Wimer submitted their paperwork for re-election to the council. There are two seats on the council that will need to be filled by appointment by the newly election council members.
The members of the Pendleton County Commission were scheduled to hold a special meeting April 12 to discuss the vacant seat due to the death of Carole Hartman. The individual will serve on an interim basis until an election is held during the General Election in November for the unexpired term. The regular election cycle for Hartman’s seat is the 2024 election.