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Several local incumbents lose seats in election

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Nov 6, 2020

Election staffers with the Jefferson County Clerk's office open the final precinct box that arrived at the courthouse at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. Toni Milbourne

CHARLES TOWN — After 10 days of extensive lines during early voting, many Jefferson County residents found more of the same, as they traveled to their regular precincts on Election Day. Two hour wait lines could be found in the county’s more populous polling locations.

Voter turnout hit 63.54 percent by the time the ballots were tallied at the Jefferson County Courthouse Tuesday night. The county has a total of 43,118 registered voters. According to Chief Deputy of Elections, in the 2008 presidential election, the turnout topped 65 percent.

Unofficial results of local races show the Jefferson County Commission will add Republicans Tricia Jackson and Stephen Stolipher to their panel. Jackson saw a win, with 14,309 votes, over incumbent Ralph Lorenzetti, who secured 12,073 votes in the Harpers Ferry District.

“I am truly humbled and honored to serve the residents of Jefferson County to my full distinction. It is now time for transparency and accountability in county government which I will bring to the people,” Jackson said.

In the Kabletown District, Stolipher garnered 14,661 votes, securing the seat over Democratic challenger Lanae Johnson, who had 11,332 votes.

Shepherdstown residents wait in line to vote at Shepherdstown Elementary School on Tuesday morning. David Pennock

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Harvey ran unopposed on the ballot and racked up 21,117 votes. The next sheriff of Jefferson County will be Tom Hansen, with 11,331 votes, over Dem. Mike Chapman, with 10,738 votes, Independent John King, with 2,320 votes, Independent Steve Cox, with 1,258 votes, and the Mountain Party’s Greg Lance, with 653 votes. The Sheriff also serves as county treasurer.

Angie Banks maintains her seat at Jefferson County Assessor, winning 15,721 percentage of the votes against her only opponent, Mountain Party candidate David Tabb, who earned 7,907 votes. County surveyor will be Roger Harris, who ran unopposed.

House of Delegate races saw incumbent Sammi Brown (Dem.) in the 65th District lose her seat to challenger Wayne Clark (Rep.). Clark won 50.95 percent of the votes. Paul Espinosa, Republican incumbent candidate in the 66th District, outscored challenger Storme Frame with 61.14 percent of the votes.

Elliot Simon, who stepped in after the primary to challenge Del. John Doyle (Dem.) in the 67th District after Mark Everhart stepped out of the race, had 4,227 votes compared to Doyle’s 4,953, for the victory Simon had previously lost to Doyle in the 2010 race for the same seat.

In the State Senate race between Republican incumbent Patricia Rucker and Democratic challenger Pete Dougherty, Dougherty conceded to Rucker’s victory when two Jefferson County precincts had yet to be counted, stating that with the Berkeley County votes, Rucker would take the win.

“It is my honor to congratulate Patricia Rucker, as it appears she will prevail in the 16th,” Dougherty wrote. “I have been very pleased to have served the people of the Panhandle and look forward to the end of a great career.”

The voters had two education items on the ballot — a levy and bond for the Jefferson County Board of Education. Despite concern voiced in recent weeks about spending by the Board, including money put toward legal fees to fight Rockwool’s insulation plant and high pay increases for administrative positions at the Board office, voters approved both items. The levy passed with 17,133 votes, while the bond passed with 15,562 votes.

Also on the ballot for voters to consider were several state and national races, whose numbers were not finalized around the state as of press time.

All results are unofficial until canvassing is complete. Jefferson County Commissioners will convene as a canvassing board on Nov. 9.