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High voter turnout makes big decisions in Jefferson

By Staff | May 11, 2018

While 8,786 out of 39,022 registered voters making decisions for all of Jefferson County might seem like a small number, voter turnout for this year’s primary election was actually higher than normal for the area, according to data from the Jefferson County Clerk’s office.

This year, an estimated 22.5 percent of registered voters cast their ballots in the primary election. For primary elections in 2014, 2011 and 2010, that number hovered between 10 and near 14 percent. The 2012 primary saw an unusually high turnout of 26.43 percent, and the 2016 presidential primary hit 65.16 percent turnout, reflecting national trends that generally see higher voter turnout in presidential election years.

On the non-partisan side of the ballot, voters chose from a pool of eight voters to fill three Board of Education seats. Incumbents Laurie Ogden and Kathryn Skinner were victorious, along with the newest member-elect to the Board, Arthena Roper. Odgen received the most votes at 3,854 (17.92 percent), with Skinner coming in at 3,632 (16.89 percent) and Roper with 3,490 (16.23 percent), according to unofficial results from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.

Ogden expressed appreciation for her win at the courthouse Tuesday evening.

“I say thank you to the voters of Jefferson County, who took the time to vote,” Ogden said. “I will continue to work to see the school system move forward.”

Two judge positions in the 23rd Judicial Circuit were up for grabs. According to unofficial results from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office Wednesday, Berkeley County resident Steven Redding defeated challengers David Camilletti and Kim Crockett in the 4th Division. Redding received 7,911 votes (35.37 percent), Camilletti had 7,793 votes (34.84 percent) and Kim Crockett had 6,662 votes (29.79 percent).

Shepherdstown’s David Hammer beat Berkeley’s Debra McLaughlin in the 2nd Division, 12,408 votes (54.90 percent) to 10,192 (45.10 percent).

Two seats were in the running for Jefferson County Commission. The results were down to the wire for Republican incumbent Jane Tabb, who was challenged by Jack Hefesty. Tabb narrowly defeated Hefestay, with 1,955 votes (50.50 percent) to Hefestay’s 1,916 votes (49.50 percent).

“I’m ecstatic!” Tabb said after all votes were counted. “It was very close, but I am so grateful for the voters who saw fit to put me over the top. I will continue to do my best to serve as a commission to all county residents.”

Tabb will face Democrat Carol Grant in the November election. Grant ran unopposed on Tuesday’s Democratic ticket.

Incumbent Republican Peter Onoszko was also victorious in his race against challengers Gary W. Cogle Jr. and David Tabb. Onoszko earned 1,542 votes (41.45 percent), compared with Cogle’s 1,388 votes (37.31 percent) and Tabb’s 790 votes (21.24 percent), according to unofficial results.

Onoszko will face Tuesday’s Democratic victor Ralph Lorenzetti (1,890 votes; 48.54 percent), who topped opponents Greg Lance (1,034 votes; 26.55 percent) and Kevin Carden (970 votes; 24.91 percent) in Tuesday’ race.

“I appreciate Greg and Kevin running a spirited campaign,” Lorenzetti said. “They were gentlemen throughout.”

Both Republican and Democratic tickets held several unopposed candidates.

Facing off now in November for the 16th District State Senate seat will be Republican Michael Folk and incumbent Democrat John Unger (incumbent). Republican Jill Upson will face Democrat Sammi Brown in the House of Delegates race for the 65th District. Both Upson and Brown ran unopposed.

Incumbent Paul Espinosa (Rep.) defeated challenger Reese Clabaugh in the primary run for the 66th Delegate seat, and will face Democratic challenger David Dinges, who ran unopposed, in the general election.

Democrat John Doyle returns to the ballot after being out of the political scene for several years and will challenge Republican incumbent Riley Moore, who beat Dan Swisher, for the 67th District seat.

The U.S. House of Representatives ticket will see Democratic challenger Talley Sergent facing off against incumbent Republican Alex X. Mooney.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey took 47,729 votes (34.83 percent) statewide to win the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, and will face incumbent Joe Manchin (112,224 votes; 72.77 percent) on the November ticket.

All results are unofficial until canvassing is complete.