Primary election is next Tuesday

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County voters who haven’t cast a ballot during the 10 days of early voting in West Virginia’s primary election will have a chance to go to the polls in the county’s 13 precincts next Tuesday.

County Clerk Kim Nickles said 62 ballots were marked during the first day of early voting last Wednesday, April 27, in her office in the county courthouse. Touch screen terminals are up and available for registered voters to use during regular business hours the remainder of this week, and this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting closes on May 7.

On Tuesday, May 10, polls across the county will open at 6:30 a.m. and remain open through 7:30 p.m. Voters may be asked for identification when they request a party ballot at their voting precinct.

Several hundred voters in the county will vote in a different polling place because of changes caused by legislative redistricting. Those voters were notified by mail where they should go to cast a ballot. The change mainly affected residents in the southern end of the county, where voters may now have to go to Love Assembly of God to vote instead of voting at Cacapon State Park, or vice versa.

School board & levy

Voters will decide two ballot issues during this primary – the election of three school board members and the fate of the special school levy, which is up for renewal for another four years.

There are four candidates seeking three positions on the Board of Education in this non-partisan election.

Aaron Close and Laura Smith, current board members, are seeking re-election. Newcomers Justin Litten and Jonathan Slifer are also running for board seats in the non-partisan election. Board members will be elected in this primary and take office in July.

The non-partisan ballot also includes the renewal of the school system’s special levy. Voters will choose whether to renew that local school tax for another four years. It accounts for 17% of the Morgan County Schools budget and pays for added staff, benefits and student support programs that would not be covered by state school taxes.

Local races

A primary race on the Republican ticket will pick Morgan County’s next County Commissioner.

Commission appointee Bill Clark is seeking the Republican nomination for the county seat, with opposition from local car dealer Gary “GW” Easton. There are no Democrats running for County Commission, so the winner of the Republican primary will be unopposed in the general election in November.

County Clerk Kimberly Johnson-Nickles is unopposed on the Republican ballot in her bid to seek a second term in office.

Morgan Circuit Clerk Melanie Shambaugh is also the lone name on the Republican ballot in her party primary, and has no Democratic opposition in the general election. She is seeking her second term of office.

House & State Senate

Republican primary races for two seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates representing this area will be the first time that voters will pick candidates within new district lines.

Delegate Ken Reed (R-Morgan), who currently represents the 59th district, is running against Delegate George Miller (R-Morgan), who currently represents the 58th district. Both men were folded into the newly-drawn 90th district and must face off to see which retains his seat in the House of Delegates. The winner will have no Democratic opponent on the November ballot.

Two Republicans are also facing off to see who will represent the new 89th district, which includes the western portion of Morgan County. Current Delegate Ruth Rowan (R-Hampshire) is being opposed by Republican Darren Thorne in the party primary. No Democrats are seeking that House seat.

Berkeley Springs attorney Charles Trump IV is running opposed on the Republican ticket to keep his seat in the State Senate representing the 15th district, which includes Morgan County. No Democrat is seeking that seat.

2nd Congressional district

The field of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives will give primary voters here the widest ballot selection of all races.

Five Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for the Congressional seat representing the 2nd district, which includes Morgan County. Two of those candidates are incumbent Congressmen Alex Mooney and David McKinley, who were thrown together into the same district following state redistricting after the 2020 U.S. Census. Joining Mooney and McKinley on the GOP ballot are Susan Lockocki of Morgantown, Rhonda Hercules of Wheeling and Mick Seckman of West Union.

Two Democrats are running for their party’s nomination during the primary – Angela Dwyer of Martinsburg and Barry Lee Wendell or Morgantown.

Winners of each party primary will face off in November during the general election.

Election results online

Results of next Tuesday’s primary election won’t be available before The Morgan Messenger goes to press for the Wednesday edition, but preliminary election night results will be reported on and posted by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office as they are verified.