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Hot contests mark primary in Jefferson

May 08, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Voter turnout for today's primary election in Jefferson County could be higher than in previous years as voters have the chance to select candidates for County Commission, sheriff, Board of Education, circuit judge, magistrate and other races.

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Jefferson County Clerk John Ott said at first he thought the turnout might be low. But considering some of the races, including a five-way Democratic run for an open seat on the County Commission and the "hullabaloo" over the four-way race for School Board, turnout might be high, Ott said.

There were initially five candidates for two seats on the School Board, but Kabletown District candidate Nancy Lutz stepped aside. Lutz believed candidate Lori Stilley was running in the Charles Town District, but after it was determined Stilley was running in the Kabletown District, Lutz said she decided to step down.

Lutz and Stilley have said they share many of the same ideas about education and did not want to run against each other, although Lutz's name will still appear on the ballot.

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Voter turnout in the 1998 primary election was 16 percent, but it could reach 30 percent today, Ott said.

The number of absentee voters in this election has been higher than usual, said Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Patsy Noland, whose office processes the votes.

The number of absentee voters has averaged around 150, but this year, 223 absentee ballots were distributed, Noland said.

All but 30 of the absentee ballots have been processed, which means most of them will be counted with the regular ballots tonight, Noland said.

The Board of Education race is nonpartisan, meaning the winner for the Kabletown and Charles Town seats will be determined today.

In the race for the Middleway District seat on the Jefferson County Commission, Democrats will nominate one candidate from a field of five to face Republican Jane Smith in the fall.

In the race for Sheriff, Democrats will choose one candidate from a field of four to face Republican Kevin Alden in the fall.

Democrats will choose between two candidates for the 55th District House of Delegates seat, and in the 56th House of Delegates race, Republicans will select one of two candidates to face Del. Dale Manuel, D-Jefferson, in the fall.

Democrats will also select three candidates for magistrate. The three candidates will face two Republicans in the fall to determine who gets the county's' three magistrate seats.

Jefferson County voters will also join with those in Berkeley and Morgan counties to pick a fourth judge for Circuit Court.

There are 19,544 registered voters in Jefferson County.

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