Doyle, Simon win 57th nominations
Republican Elliot Simon will face off against eight-term incumbent Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson, in this November’s general election for the 57th District seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Simon defeated Donny Jones in the Republican primary 375 votes to Jones’ 204. The precincts near Shepherdstown narrowly supported Simon. Republicans in precincts 31 through 35 voted 154-152 in favor of Simon. Most of Simon’s support came from the precincts near Harpers Ferry, which supported Simon over Jones, 205-32.
Doyle defeated his Democratic primary opponent Lori Rea by a wide margin, winning over 64 percent of Democratic voters in the 57th District, with 1,070 votes to Rea’s 586. Doyle took every precinct in the 57th save for the 17th precinct near Harpers Ferry, which Rea took by a vote of 40-37.
Simon admits he faces a formidable task in trying to unseat Doyle, an eight-turn incumbent going for nine. Simon’s first task is to pump some life into local Republican fundraising efforts in the 57th District. As of April 30, Simon’s campaign only had $1,500 in the bank, where Doyle reported a campaign balance of about $3,000 for the general election.
Doyle’s campaign reports total cash contributions of over $11,400 so far in the campaign. Over 77 percent of Doyle’s cash contributions, $8,800, have come from donors of more than $250, yet he has received less PAC money than Rea.
Simon has raised $3,436 in campaign contributions so far in the campaign, $1,370 of which he donated to himself. He claims four contributors of $250 or more – himself, and three individual donors of $250 each. He reports a balance of about $1,500 in campaign funds as of April 30.
Simon can look forward to a small donation from his former challenger in the primary, Donny Jones, told the Chronicle on Wednesday that he plans on donating the remainder of his campaign funds to Simon’s campaign, though he admitted that he probably has less than $30 in the bank.
Simon admits it will be an uphill slog to unseat Doyle. “He obviously has name recognition; he obviously has his long-time supporters,” said Simon in an interview on election night. “It’s going to be a tough race, but I think we have the issues. A lot of issues which resonate nationally also resonate locally.”
Doyle, calling from a conference in California on Tuesday night, said that he was “very gratified that the voters expressed their confidence in me” and said he looks forward to the general election.
His former opponent Lori Rea said in a phone interview with the Chronicle on Wednesday that the campaign experience was “absolutely phenomenal” and praised her campaign team. She says she’s planning on re-focusing on her work for the Gateway New Economy Council and speaks of developing partnerships with local politicians and businesses to explore grass roots community initiatives aimed at improving education.
“I call this the campaign of a thousand kindnesses,” said Rea. “Because so many ordinary people stepped up to the plate to get involved at the grassroots level.”
Simon’s former primary opponent, Donny Jones, a rising sophomore at Shepherd University, will return to his childhood home in Jackson County. No longer a candidate for the 57th District, he says he is also no longer looking for a local apartment. He thanks his parents for their support.
Is this the last we will hear of Donny Jones, Republican from West Virginia? Time will tell. Until then Jones says that he will focus on schoolwork, for at least the next two years.