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Strauss wins seat on Berkeley County commission

November 08, 2000

Strauss wins seat on Berkeley County commission



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W. Va. - Berkeley County businessman Howard Strauss handily defeated Butch Pennington to become the newest member of the three-member Berkeley County Commission, according to unofficial final returns Wednesday.

With all 46 precincts counted, Strauss defeated businessman Pennington 11,560 to 9,962. Republican Strauss will replace commission Chairman D. Wayne Dunham, also a Republican, who is retiring after one six-year term.

They agreed Wednesday the key issue that decided the election was zoning. Pennington supported zoning for the county; Strauss said he wanted a go-slow approach focusing on updating the county's subdivision ordinance.

"It became a referendum on zoning," Strauss said. "Butch focused on it. It was the No. 1 issue. And the voters had already said the last time they voted on it that they didn't want it."

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"It was the wrong message at the wrong time," Pennington said. "We lost about 45-55 (percent). If you look at how badly zoning was beaten last time, we closed the gap quite a bit."

Pennington said his ownership of two liquor outlets may have cost him some votes.

Strauss was appointed to the commission in 1992 and served one year. He was elected in 1996, but the state Supreme Court awarded the election to Commissioner Robert Burkhart because of residency requirements of the commissioners.

"This time it's legitimate,' Strauss said of his victory. "I'm ready to get started."

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