W.Va. GOP delegates could run unopposed

January 29, 2006|By ROBERT SNYDER


Some Eastern Panhandle Republicans could face little opposition in their re-election bids to the state Legislature this year.

By day's end Friday, no Democrats had signed on to oppose 52nd District Del. Craig Blair, as well as Blair's fellow Republican incumbents, 54th District Del. Walter Duke and Del. John Overington, who represents the 55th District, in their bids for re-election in this year's May 9 primary election and Nov. 7 general election.

The deadline to file was midnight Saturday.

Berkeley County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman John Fink acknowledged it is difficult to raise candidates to challenge for these seats.

'We've been trying to recruit individuals for these spots, but it's tough to do in the Eastern Panhandle," said Fink, adding his priority this year will be to protect 16th Senate District incumbent John Unger.

Unger's seat is being challenged this year by former Republican Executive Committee Chairman Jerry Mays.


Mays said he would like to end the state's tax on personal property and work to improve economic development between the three counties of the Eastern Panhandle by expanding the region's roadways.

"If you had an adequate road system, 50 percent of the growth troubles would go away," Mays said.

Unger, a two-term senator who is chairman of the Senate's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and vice chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee, filed for re-election Friday.

Democrats also are fielding retired educator Jerry Burton of Inwood to fill the seat being vacated by retiring 53rd District Del. Vic Roberts. Burton lost to Roberts in 2004.

Political newcomer Jonathan Miller of Bunker Hill, a 21-year-old High Point University senior, filed for the 53rd District seat earlier this month, citing support for the elimination of the state's food tax and for strengthening laws against eminent domain.

Bob Tabb, Locke Wysong and John Doyle, all Jefferson County Democrats, will see opposition from Republicans in their efforts to seek re-election to the House of Delegates.

In the 56th District, Republican R. Earl Wilbourne of Charles Town likely will oppose incumbent delegate Tabb in November, while longtime incumbent Doyle could face opposition from Harpers Ferry resident Bob Murto in the 57th District. In the 58th District, Wysong could see his seat challenged by Charles Town resident Bob Adams.

In the 51st District, Republicans Daryl Cowles of Berkeley Springs and George Sneathen of Delray in Hampshire County have filed to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Del. Charles Trump IV.

Democrats Charles Downey Evert of Paw Paw and Robert L. Ford and Gary Lee Nelson, both of Berkeley Springs, also have filed for that seat.

In the state's 15th District, incumbent Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, also has filed for re-election.

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