2018-01-31 / Front Page

Former commissioner seeks county seat, Hahn challenges Cowles in delegate race

by Kate Shunney

A wave of candidates for local and state-level office materialized in the days leading up to last Saturday’s deadline to file to run for elected office.

The race for a seat on the Morgan County Commission has heated up as former commissioner Stacy Schultz (formerly Dugan) has filed to run for the post as a Democrat. She makes the third candidate to file for a shot at the seat.

Commissioner Bob Ford, a Republican, is seeking to hold onto the office for another six years. He will face challenger Sean Forney in the Republican primary in May. Forney is a local businessman and sits on the county’s Economic Development Authority.

Whoever emerges as the party pick from the primary will face Schultz, the only Democrat in the race, during the November general election.

Berkeley Springs Democrat Bibi Hahn has filed to run for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates representing the 58th district. Delegate Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) is seeking a seventh two-year term in the post, and is unopposed in the GOP primary. The 58th district includes Morgan and parts of Hampshire counties. Cowles is the House Majority Leader during this session of the Legislature, as he was in 2017.

Other new candidates to emerge in local races include three more residents seeking seats on the Morgan County school board. A total of six candidates are seeking three seats up for election on the Board of Education. That race will be decided during nonpartisan voting in the May 9 primary election.

Seats on the ballot are those held now by Aaron Close, Laura Smith and David Ambrose.

Close and Smith, both of Berkeley Springs, have filed for re-election. Eric Lyda, James D. Clark Jr., and Alice Lantz of Berkeley Springs and Pamela Mann of Great Cacapon are also seeking a four-year term on the board.

Because of rules about the make-up of the school board, no more than two members can be elected from a single magisterial district. Clark, Lyda, Lantz and Close are all residents of Magisterial District #4, which covers northern Morgan County. Smith and Mann are residents of Magisterial District #1, which encompasses downtown Berkeley Springs and the entire western portion of Morgan County. Board members not up for re-election both represent Magisterial District #5, which encompasses southeastern Morgan County.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan James will face no opposition in his run for election as prosecutor. James was appointed to the job last year but must be elected to serve out the remainder of the unexpired four-year term of Debra McLaughlin, who was elected to the post in 2016. McLaughlin was tapped to become a circuit court judge in the 23rd judicial circuit last August.

Regional races

Eastern Panhandle voters will also select, in the May primary, a judge to serve out the unexpired term of the late John Yoder in the 23rd Judicial Circuit. The Division 2 judge will be picked in a nonpartisan race on May 8.

Debra McLaughlin of Berkeley Springs, who was appointed to serve in Yoder’s spot on the bench until the May election, has filed to run for the office.

David Hammer of Shepherdstown has also filed as a candidate for that judicial seat.

Voters in the Eastern Panhandle will also vote to fill the unexpired term of judge Gray Silver III, who has retired.

Judge Silver served as a judge in Division 4 of the 23rd judicial circuit.

David Camilletti, Kim Crockett and Steven Redding have filed to run for Silver’s seat.

Judges in the 23rd Circuit hear cases in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

State Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan) is unopposed in his bid for another term representing the 15th district, which includes Morgan County.

Berkeley Springs pharmacist Talley Ranels Reed emerged as the last candidate to file to run for a seat in the House of Delegates for the 59th district. Reed, a Republican, will face off against Larry Kump, of Falling Waters, in the Republican primary in May. Kump previously served as a state delegate and was defeated by Saira Blair (R-Berkeley) who holds the seat now. Blair is not seeking re-election. John Isner, a Democrat from Hedgesville, is unopposed in his party’s primary.

West Virginia voters have until April 17 to register to vote in the May 8 primary election.

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