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Poor at the Primary: Under 30 percent of registered voters turn out for election

By Staff | Jun 12, 2020

Less than 30 percent of Jefferson County's registered voters voted in the 2020 Primary Election. Courtesy photo

CHARLES TOWN — Only 28.16 percent of Jefferson County’s registered voters–11,604 out of 41,210–voted in the Primary Election on Tuesday night. The election helped determine which candidates will move on to the General Election in November, as well as the winners of several non-partisan races.

In this primary election, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many more absentee ballots were cast than in past elections. Absentee ballots counted for 6,573 votes while 916 voters took advantage of early voting opportunities.

On the non-partisan side of the ballot, voters chose from a pool of 11 candidates to fill three Board of Education seats. Incumbent Mark Osbourn won the most votes, with 3,877 votes. Coming in second to take a seat on the Board of Education was Donna Joy, with 3,514 votes. Current board member Gary Kable received 3,289 votes; however, Kable has announced he will not serve, but will retire at the end of his current term. The retirement of Kable will place incumbent Wendy Whitehair-Lochner back on the board, with 2,951 votes.

Also on the non-partisan ballot were three seats on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. At the end of Jefferson County’s voting, Richard Neely topped Division 1 with 4,422 of Jefferson Countians votes; William “Bill” Wooten led Division 2 with 2,820 Jefferson County votes and Division 3 saw Lora Dyer take the most votes in Jefferson County, with 3,819. Jefferson’s votes will be combined with the rest of the state’s to determine who will hold the seats in the High Court.

Judge Debra McLaughlin was unopposed in her bid to retain her position as judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit.

The county also had three magistrate seats open. Vickie D’Angelo ran unopposed in Division 2. Carmela Cesare won Division 1, topping the votes above challengers Kristen Vogel and Danesia Chicchirichi. Cesare succeeded with 4,930 votes, while Vogel earned 3,060 and Chicchirichi finished with 2,594. In Division 3, incumbent Arthena Roper will retain her seat, after winning with 5,217 votes, compared to Osmund Anderson’s 1,446 and Holly Silveous’s 3,507.

Two seats were in the running for Jefferson County Commission. Democrat incumbent Ralph Lorenzetti ran unopposed on the Primary ballot in the Harpers Ferry District and will move ahead to the General Election. Vying for a chance to face Lorenzetti in November were Republican candidates Gary Cogle and Tricia Jackson. Jackson earned 2,167 votes, winning a tight race against Cogle, who garnered 2,008 votes.

Running unopposed in their respective political parties in the Kablettown District, to fill the seat currently held by Patsy Noland, were Republican Stephen Stolipher and Democrat Lanae Johnson.

Republican Matt Harvey ran unopposed for Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney. Democrat incumbent Angela Banks beat her Mountain Party challenger, David Tabb, winning the seat of assessor with 5,379 votes.

Mike Chapman ran unopposed on the Democrat ticket for Sheriff of Jefferson County. He will face Tom Hansen in November, as Hansen captured 2,082 Republican votes compared to Harris, who earned 2,016 in another close race. Independent candidates Steve Cox and John King will also be on the November ballot.

Both Republican and Democratic tickets held several unopposed candidates.

Facing off now in November for the 16th District State Senate seat will be Republican incumbent Patricia Rucker, who will take on the challenge made by Democrat Peter Dougherty. Dougherty will complete his office as Jefferson County Sheriff at the end of this election.

Republican Wayne Clark faces incumbent Democrat Sammi Brown in the House of Delegates race for the 65th District.

Incumbent Paul Espinosa (R) ran unopposed in the primary for the 66th Delegate seat, and will face Democratic challenger Storme Frame, who ran unopposed, in the general election.

Incumbent Democrat John Doyle ran unopposed for the 67th Delegate District. On the Republican ticket was Mark Everhart, who pulled out of the race earlier this year. The Republican Executive Committee will name a candidate for the November ballot.

Vote counting for several state and national races were not entirely completed at deadline.

All results are unofficial until canvassing is complete.