Voters make statement on election night
A little over 40 percent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots in the mid-term election. As evidenced by local, state and national races, the Republican party enjoyed several victories. In fact, straight ticket Republican votes in Jefferson County outnumbered Democratic straight tickets by 685 voters with a total of 2,950.
In local races, Republican Eric Bell defeated challenger Ronda Lehman for a seat on the Jefferson County Commission from the Harpers Ferry District. Bell received 54.79 percent of the vote to the 45.21 percent garnered by Lehman. Bell will fill the seat currently held by outgoing Commissioner Lyn Widmyer.
Patricia “Patsy” Noland retained her seat on the Commission running unopposed in the Kabletown District.
Sheriff Pete Dougherty was one of few Democrats to win locally Tuesday. He defeated challenger Steve Sowers with 54.08 percent of the vote to Sowers’ 45.65 percent. Dougherty was appointed to the position of sheriff by the Jefferson County Commission in order to serve out the remainder of former Jefferson County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley’s term, following Shirley’s resignation.
Delegate for the House of Delegates 67th District Stephen Skinner retained his seat with a slight win over challenger Patricia Rucker. Skinner secured 2,6121 or 51.14 percent of the vote compared to Rucker’s 2,491 or 48.79 percent.
“It has been a tough night for Democrats across the state,” Skinner said Tuesday evening at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
The 67th District is located entirely in Jefferson County and includes the Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, Bolivar, Shenandoah Junction and Shannondale areas.
The 66th District seat was retained by Republican Paul Espinosa, who has served one term in the delegate seat.
Espinosa faced no Democratic opposition but did face Daniel Lutz with the Mountain Party, who garnered 22.10 percent of the vote to Espinosa’s 77.50 percent.
The 66th District includes the Shannondale, Kabletown, Myerstown, Rippon, Summit Point, Middleway, Leetown, Kearneysville and Shenandoah Junction areas.
Tiffany Lawrence, current delegate in the 65th Delegate District was defeated by Republican challenger Jill Upson. Upson received 2,349 votes or 55.72 percent to Lawrence’s 1,861 votes of 44.14 percent. Lawrence has served in her position since 2008.
State Senator John Unger has held on to his seat, defeating challenger Larry Faircloth with a total of 12,241 votes in a close race. With all precincts reporting, Faircloth trailed Unger with a total of 11,066 votes cast in his favor.
Unger won re-election to his fifth term representing the 16th Senatorial District where he has served for 16 years. He currently serves as the House Majority Leader.
Democrat Nick Casey was handily defeated by Republican Alex Mooney for the U.S. House of Representatives seat currently held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. Mooney won with approximately 47 percent to Casey’s 44 percent of the votes.
Mooney takes over in the House for seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, who easily won her race for the U.S. Senate against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Capito was one of several change-over seats in the U.S. Senate.
Also on the ballot Tuesday was Michael D. Lorensen, who ran unopposed for the position of Circuit Judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit. Lorensen had previously been appointed to fill an unexpired term when Judge Gina Groh received a Federal appointment.