On Tuesday, May 10, many Greenbrier County voters may decide to sit out the primary election. But, voters may want to rethink staying home, because for some offices, May 10 is Election Day.
For the first time in West Virginia history, judges and magistrates are non-partisan elections, meaning that judicial and magisterial candidates are not affiliated with a particular party; therefore, May 10 is election day for these seats. Board of education seats are also non-partisan, and will also be decided on May 10.
In Greenbrier County, there are two circuit judge seats up for grabs in May. Circuit Judge Robert E. Richardson is running for election as the incumbent for one seat (Richardson was appointed judge by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on May 20, 2014, after Judge Joseph Pomponio retired mid-term). Richardson is being challenged by Lewisburg attorneys Britt Ludwig and Steve Hunter for the seat.
The other seat was left empty when Chief Circuit Judge James J. Rowe did not file to run for reelection in January. His failure to file created a bit of courthouse drama: Rowe has been a judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit since his appointment to the bench in 1997 by former Governor Gaston Caperton, and no one expected him to retire. However, Rowe’s retirement left an empty seat in the courthouse, and three people have registered to run for it: Greenbrier County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Dent, Lewisburg attorney Jeffrey S. Rodgers and Charleston attorney Fred Giggenbach.
Family court elections will also be decided May 10. Voters will choose between incumbent David M. Sanders and his challenger, Lewisburg attorney Martha J. Fleshman.
Additionally, voters will choose Greenbrier County Magistrate Court judges on May 10. Incumbent Charles “Doug” Beard is running unopposed for Division 1, and incumbent Brenda J. Smith is running unopposed for Division 3. Contested is Division 2, where incumbent, former Sheriff James W. “Jim” Childers (appointed by Rowe last year when Magistrate Brenda Campbell retired mid-term) is being challenged by Kimberly L. “Kim” Johnson, who has served as magistrate assistant since 2001.
Statewide, there is one seat up for election on the Supreme Court of Appeals. Incumbent Brent Benjamin is being challenged by Wayne King, Darrell V. McGraw Jr., Beth Walker and William R. “Bill” Wooten.
Judicial elections are not the only elections that will be decided on May 10; the Greenbrier County Board of Education is a nonpartisan election, too. Two seats are open: one is held by incumbent Robert “Bob” Toothman, who is seeking reelection, and the other seat was left vacant by Stephen Baldwin when he resigned in order to run for the House of Delegates. Toothman will run against Mary C. Humphreys and Katie C. Ickes. Two seats will be chosen to the board of education on the May election day.
Early voting begins Apr. 27 and ends May 7. Early voters may vote at the Greenbrier County Courthouse, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and at the Rupert Community Center Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.