2020 Election delivers 60% local turnout, big wins for GOP
by KATE SHUNNEY
Editor’s note: This story was updated. After press time, the Morgan County Clerk’s office released the official vote totals for Morgan County after Morgan County Commissioners certified those totals on Tuesday afternoon.
Morgan County officials on Tuesday afternoon certified the official results from the county’s 13 precincts, early and absentee voting for the 2020 General Election. Vote canvassing on Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10 added 442 ballots to the 8,318 ballots counted on election night, November 3. Those additional votes came from absentee ballots received by the start of canvassing, as allowed by West Virginia law, and from provisional ballots that had to be validated.
The additional votes certified during canvass raised Morgan County’s voter turnout from the 58% calculated on election night to 60%. In total, 8,760 ballots were cast by Morgan County voters in the 2020 General Election. There are 14,367 registered voters in the county, according to the Morgan County Clerk’s office.
No races were shifted by the votes added during the canvassing process.
Republican candidates swept local votes at every level on the ballot, taking between 69% and 80% of the votes in contested races. Numbers for reporting purposes are being reported on the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.
In the district races for seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates, two Berkeley Springs Republicans earned a place in the Legislature representing Morgan County, plus parts of Hampshire and Berkeley counties.
Republican George Miller of Berkeley Springs took 75% of Morgan County’s votes in his race to represent the 58th district in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Miller beat out Democrat Tom Harden, also of Berkeley Springs, who pulled in 24.5% of the vote locally. District-wide, margins were similar. Miller took in 6,540 votes to Harden’s 2,059, securing 76% of the vote to the Democrat’s 24%.
In the race to represent the 59th district in the House of Delegates, Republican Ken Reed beat out two challengers. Reed took in 6,852 votes (71.4%) to Robert Smith’s 1,534 votes. Smith is a Mountain Party candidate. Patricia “Patch” Adams, an unaffiliated candidate, pulled up a close third with 1,209 votes in the three-way contest.
Miller and Reed will officially take office in December. Reed will vacate his seat on the Morgan County Commission to take the state-level office.
Regional voters handed incumbent Republican Craig Blair another term as a West Virginia State Senator, with Morgan County going strongly for Blair in a two-way race. He pulled in 40,398 votes across the district, which includes Mineral, Berkeley, Morgan and Hampshire counties. Mountain Party candidate Donald Kinnie received 9,923 votes in polling, pulling in just 19.7% of the vote to Blair’s 80.3%.
County-level elections, all uncontested races with Republican candidates, delivered no surprises. Sheriff. K.C. Bohrer has been elected to his second four-year term in office with 7,374 votes. County Commission President Joel Tuttle secured his second six-year term in office with 7,169 votes. Prosecuting Attorney Dan James won a full term in his post with 7,344 votes and Debbie Weaver has won her first term as the Morgan County Assessor with 7,553 votes — the highest grab of local votes in all four county races.
At the state level, Governor Jim Justice brought in 69.7% of Morgan County’s gubernatorial votes, far outpacing Democrat Ben Salango here. Salango rolled up 21.6% of Morgan County votes. Libertarian Erika Kolenich earned 232 votes and Mountain Party candidate Danny Lutz pulled in 317 votes in Morgan County. Statewide, Justice won re-election with 64.8% of the vote.
Local and state Republican voters also favored incumbents in Congress. Congressman Alex Mooney got 75% of the local vote to Democrat Cathy Kunkel’s 25%. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito was a local favorite in her re-election bid. Capito beat out Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin in local voting, 76% to 21%. Libertarian David Moran pulled in 2.6% of the local vote.
Mooney won another term in Congress with 63% of the Congressional district vote. Capito secured re-election with 70.4% of the vote across West Virginia.
President Donald Trump was a clear favorite for Morgan County voters, who cast 6,537 votes for his re-election. Trump easily won West Virginia with 541,770 votes — 68.7% of the state.
Democrat Joe Biden received 1,998 votes in Morgan County, and 233,674 votes across the state — 29.6% of West Virginia ballots.
At press time, Biden was projected to win the presidency but challenges in multiple states will delay a final reporting of vote totals across the U.S.
Additional races for state level offices went to Republicans running for Secretary of State, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Attorney General.
Precinct-level vote totals for Morgan County will be made available by the Morgan County Clerk after the close of canvass, and will appear in the next issue of The Morgan Messenger.