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West Virginia Senate primaries up in the air

May 12, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Greg Lance held a narrow lead over Sen. Herb Snyder in the closely watched Democratic primary for the 16th District State Senate seat.

With 66 of 88 precincts reporting, Lance had 3,239 votes to Snyder's 2,838 votes.

The nominee will face apparent GOP nominee John Yoder in the Nov. 2 general election.

Yoder, 53, of 433 Prospect Ave., Harpers Ferry, W.Va., had a healthy lead over R. Earl Wilbourne, 49, of 4828 Summit Point Road, Charles Town, W.Va., at press time.

Yoder had 2,893 votes and Wilbourne had 1,837 votes.

The Snyder-Lance race was razor thin all night. At one point in the evening, the contest was literally tied. After the first seven precincts in Jefferson County had been counted, each candidate had 379 votes.


Snyder, who had to try to deal with the stigma of a driving under the influence charge, said he will accept whatever the outcome.

"I anticipated it was either going to be close or Lance was going to walk away with it," he said Tuesday night.

Snyder, 50, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., said he has quit drinking since his August arrest. A trial is pending in Jefferson County Magistrate Court, but the case has been complicated by a missing blood sample and the absence of the investigating officer, who is working a security job for a private contractor in Iraq.

Lance, 48, of 774 Breckenridge Way, Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., is no stranger to politics.

He served as mayor of Ranson, W.Va., for eight years and as a member of the Jefferson County Commission for 12 years.

Lance and Snyder were both on the commission from 1990 to 1996.

Yoder previously held the state Senate seat from 1992 to 1996.

He's also served in the two other branches of government, as a circuit judge in Kansas from 1976 to 1980 and director of the asset forfeiture office under the U.S. Department of Justice during the Reagan administration.

Wilbourne, an ordained bishop with the Church of God, ran on a pro-life platform.

The winner of the Nov. 2 general election will serve a four-year term. The position pays $15,000 a year.

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