MARTINSBURG, W.Va. ? In a decision that could serve as a precursor to the outcome of next year's expected zoning referendum, Berkeley County Republicans voted to reject the candidacy of former West Virginia lawmaker Larry Faircloth, and opted instead to select county Public Service Water District Chairman Bill Stubblefield as the party's nominee to replace departing Berkeley County Commissioner Howard Strauss on the three-member County Commission.
According to complete, but unofficial results, Stubblefield was the leading vote-getter in Tuesday's primary election with 1,555 votes, about 7 percent more than his closest challenger, Faircloth, who had 1,258 votes.
Strauss, who was on hand throughout the night to assist county election officials, said he believed the election served as a litmus test for next year's zoning referendum
"It increases the chances for zoning's passage," Strauss said
Candidate Bob Grove, who targeted Stubblefield throughout the campaign and proposed solving the county's growth pains by building an intra-county roadway network as well as a pipeline to filter wastewater back into the water table, finished third with 579 votes.