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Faircloth holds late lead

May 10, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Incumbent Larry Faircloth was the apparent winner in Tuesday's Republican primary in his bid to represent the 53rd District in the House of Delegates for an 11th consecutive two-year term.

With 41 of 46 precincts reporting, Faircloth had 600 votes to GOP challenger Tom Slater's 416 .

Faircloth will face Democrat Don Kawalek of Bunker Hill, W.Va., in the general election in November.

Kawalek was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Faircloth, 51, of Inwood, W.Va., has represented the 53rd District since 1980.

Slater, 68, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., who retired after 28 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, was making his third run. Faircloth defeated him in primary races in 1994 and 1996.

In all three races, Slater took swipes at the incumbent instead of expressing a vision for the district, Faircloth said Tuesday night.

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"I just stayed focused on what the issues were in the district," Faircloth said. "My responsibility is to know what the issues are: education, jobs, roads, the environment, health care."

Faircloth, a real estate broker and builder, campaigned on his record in helping to get School Building Authority funding for Musselman High School, as well as state money that has gone to road projects in his district.

In an earlier interview, Slater said he hadn't planned to run again, but changed his mind after Faircloth got involved in a court case in which a drunk driver alleged that the West Virginia State Police used excessive force against him. The driver, whose parents are Faircloth's friends, settled his suit out of court.

Faircloth, a proponent of setting up a civilian review board for the state police, said his role in the case was not improper.

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