Shambaugh & Ford win county races
Vince Shambaugh won a second term as sheriff and Bob Ford was elected county commissioner in a high turnout Morgan County election yesterday.
In other contested local races, Ronald McIntire was reelected assessor while Kermit Ambrose and Greg Miller won new terms as magistrates.
Barack Obama won a second four-year term as U.S. President, though Morgan County and West Virginia went for his Republican challenger Mitt Romney by nearly 2 to 1.
Nationally, Obama was edging out Romney in the electoral vote totals when The Morgan Messenger went to press at midnight.
West Virginia voters gave new terms to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Shelley Capito.
Morgan County voters narrowly endorsed the proposed State Constitution amendment to allow sheriffs to serve more than two four-year terms by 3,134 to 3,122 – only 12 votes in the unofficial totals.
Statewide, the amendment was losing at press time.
Some 7,188 Morgan County voters, or about 61% of those registered, cast ballots. Of that number, 2,052, or nearly 29% of those who voted, took advantage of early voting.
General Election Day here was sunny and chilly with a high in the forties.
Aside from the Obama/Romney contest for president, the most highly watched races here were for sheriff, county commission and assessor.
In the closest of those contests, former commissioner Bob Ford defeated present commissioner Brenda Hutchinson for a six-year term on the commission.
Republican Ford got about 51% of the vote in edging out Democrat Hutchinson by just 127 votes out of more than 6,790 cast.
“It’s a great day for Morgan County, and I hope to restore some decency into the county commission,” Ford said in the courthouse on election night. “We ran a clean campaign, and we prevailed.”
For sheriff, Republican Shambaugh easily outdistanced his Democrat rival Larry Bradley by a 60% to 40% margin.
“I am utterly honored to be chosen by the people of Morgan County,” Shambaugh said. “I promise to work hard for all the citizens.”
In winning a second term as assessor, Republican McIntire defeated former assessor John Allen Swaim, 59% to 41%.
County vote totals for three candidates vying for the two magistrate positions were: Republicans Ambrose, 3,764 and Miller, 3,652; and Democrat Debra Ditto, 3,149.
Reelected without opposition were County Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin, Family Court Judge Glen Stotler and Delegates Daryl Cowles and Larry Kump, all Republicans.
Former delegate Craig Blair, a Republican, won a State Senate seat representing Morgan and Berkeley counties. Daniel Litten of the Constitution Party finished a distant second. There was no Democrat in the race.
In the governor’s contest, Democrat Tomblin appeared to have defeated Republican challenger Bill Maloney by about 51% to 45% statewide. In Morgan County, however, the numbers were reversed.
For U.S. Senate, incumbent Manchin beat his Republican challenger John Raese locally by 51% to 46%. Manchin gathered more than 60% of the state vote.
Capito defeated her Democratic opponent Howard Swint by 71% to 29% in Morgan County and by a similar margin statewide.
Locally, Republican Kent Leonhardt defeated Democrat Walt Helmick, now a state senator representing this district, for State Agriculture Commissioner, 56% to 44%. At last report, Leonhardt was also leading statewide.
At presstime, incumbent Robin Jean Davis, a Democrat, and Allen Loughry, a Republican, were the leaders in the hard-fought contest for two seats on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Morgan County voters favored Loughry and John Yoder (R).
Natalie Tennant won a new term as Secretary of State, easily beating Republican Brian Savilla statewide, but losing to him in Morgan County polling.
State Treasurer John Perdue and State Auditor Glen Gainer won new terms, defeating Republican challengers statewide.
At presstime, Republican Patrick Morrisey was leading incumbent Darrell McGraw for State Attorney General.
The Morgan County Commissioners will meet to certify the local vote at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13.
Look for the official vote totals in the November 20 issue of The Morgan Messenger.