May 8 election upsets some local seats, candidates thinned for November ballot

The May 8 primary election brought out 315,857 West Virginia voters to the polls last Tuesday, with 7,755 ballots being submitted in Greenbrier County alone.

With a total of 26,342 registered voters residing in the county, according to the Secretary of State, that means there was a 29.44 percent voter turnout overall. Positions on the ballot included U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, State Senator, House of Delegates, Sheriff, County Commissioner, Board of Education, and a vote on the passing of the Board of Education School Levy.

On a local level, Tammy Shifflett Tincher of Rainelle led a surprising victory over incumbent Woody Hanna for a seat on the Greenbrier County Commission. Winning 54.26 percent of the vote, Tincher’s platform focused around her promise to represent the western end of Greenbrier County, which she feels is not considered enough at county meetings, and to work on providing jobs within the county. Both candidates ran on the Democratic ticket.

There are two candidates running for Greenbrier County Sheriff, incumbent Bruce Sloan on the Democratic ticket, and Mark Robinson on the Republican ticket. Sloan has been acting sheriff of Greenbrier County since January 2016, and before that, he was chief deputy under former sheriff Jan Cahill. Sloan says his 30 years in law enforcement make him a good applicant for the position. Robinson has declined to attend local Meet the Candidate forums or make public appearances, so little information is known on his background. Both candidates will be on the ballot this November.

Three Board of Education members were elected, Jeanie Porterfield Wyatt, Kay M. Smith, and Hazel Flanagan Reed. This race was a close one, with Wyatt scoring 28.4 percent of the vote, Smith at 23.3 percent, and Reed at 20 percent. Wyatt took the lead with her experience of having served on the board since 2006, and as president of the board for the past four years, propelling her to the top of the list of candidates.

The Board of Education School Levy passed, with a strong “yes” vote at 69.8 percent. The levy, which is a continuation of the current levy that was set to expire in June 2019, funds different programs for 13 schools throughout the county. Art and music programs, as well as school safety measures, are funded through this levy. A breakdown of the levy funds is as follows:

  • $350,000 allotted for school safety and security improvements, including, but not limited to, security services, equipment and related support services for students.
  • $750,000 for providing assistance with the purchase of instructional materials, technology and related resources.
  • $300,000 for the continuation of arts and music programs available to all students.
  • $750,000 for school allotments and supplies, including, without limitation, lab supplies.
  • $250,000 for funds that facilitate extended year and extracurricular programs.
  • $1,700,000 for capital improvements to school facilities, including repair and maintenance of buildings and utilities.
  • $1,878,119 to provide for the employment of necessary personnel outside the school aid formula to meet the needs of students and maintain employee benefits.

The levy will provide funds for local school for the next five fiscal years, for a total annual cost of $5,978,119.

For the State Senator position for the 10th Senatorial District, incumbent Stephen Baldwin ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket. A Baptist pastor who preaches regularly in Ronceverte, Baldwin is a local favorite due to his transparency within the government and constant community presence. He writes a semi-regular newspaper column, “The Back Pew,” where he breaks down weekly happenings and his thoughts on current government affairs. On the Republican senatorial ticket, George “Boogie” Ambler not only won the vote in Greenbrier County, but in Summers and Monroe counties as well. The 10th Senatorial District covers Greenbrier, Fayette, Summers, and Monroe counties, making it tough to predict a winner. Ambler will take on Baldwin on the ballot in November.

The House of Delegates had four candidates running on each ticket, however, there were two Republican positions open and only one Democratic position. Democratic incumbent Jeff Campbell scored a narrow victory ahead of Cindy Lavender-Bowe, winning by just 406 votes. In another surprising twist, Isaiah T. Stanley, a high school student at Greenbrier West, scored 10.9 percent of the votes, which was more than Roger Vannoy at 8.2 percent. Republican candidates Denny Canterbury and Steve Malcomb both earned a seat in the House, with Canterbury taking a strong lead at 40 percent, and Malcomb trailing at 26.1 percent. Malcomb ran a strong campaign focused on his extensive police background and previous experience serving on the Greenbrier County Commission.

On the federal level, incumbent Joe Manchin scored a strong lead with 71.9 percent of the vote for the U.S. Senate. Manchin, a democrat fighting an uphill battle in a mostly red state, has been saying, “Washington sucks,” and cites people “playing politics” as a major problem with the way the government has been functioning as of late.

On the Republican side of the table, Patrick Morrisey led a slim victory to Evan Jenkins, who got the majority vote in Greenbrier County, but not state-wide. Manchin and Morrisey will therefore both be candidates on the November ballot.

For the U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd Congressional District, the Democratic primary winner was Richard Ojeda. Ojeda is currently a member of the WV Senate, and has 24 years of experience in the U.S. Army. He was one of the sponsors of the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice in 2017. A strong winner, he received 52.5 percent of the vote, followed by Shirley Love following with 24.8 percent. The Republican winner was Carol Miller, who just narrowly beat Rupert Phillips. Miller is a current member of the House of Delegates, and has been in office since 2007.

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