Democrats wants time to select commission nominee

May 17, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The head of Berkeley County's Democratic Party said Tuesday he will request extra time to field a candidate to compete against the Republican nominee in the race for county commissioner in November.

"I am going to ask for the extension because I want to give our party the opportunity to fill the position with the most qualified individual," said Berkeley County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman John Fink, adding the party's newly elected central committee will convene for the first time July 1 and hope to have a candidate selected soon afterwards.

Fink said requesting a deadline extension will give the party until late August to select a candidate to replace Sonny Brown, the Democrats' presumptive nominee who would have faced Republican voters' commission choice in November.

Brown died May 5, four days before this month's election primary.

Fink said he wants to take his time to mull the party's options, indicating the race would not be expected to heat up again until Labor Day.


"I don't want to rush the process," Fink said. "I don't think much campaigning will be done over the summer anyway."

Meanwhile, candidate Larry Faircloth, who was one of five Republicans seeking that party's nomination for the single commission seat being vacated by President Howard Strauss, said he will make a decision by noon Thursday whether to request a recount of last week's election results.

Faircloth lost to fellow Republican Bill Stubblefield by 357 votes, according to official results released by the county's voter registration office following the completion of the election canvas Tuesday.

With 4,453 Republican and 357 nonpartisan ballots cast for last week's primary election, Stubblefield outdistanced Faircloth 1,695 votes to 1,338 votes.

Faircloth called the spread substantial but said a number of irregularities in the process, including problems with voting machines and ballots which had not been signed by poll clerks from both political parties, cause him to question the integrity of the results.

"(We owe it) to those people who took the time to vote for a candidate ... to make sure the process was done correctly," said Faircloth.

Republican Bob Grove finished third with 605 votes, ahead of both Marty Kilmer, who garnered 358 votes and Ted Morgan, who collected 284 votes.

Faircloth indicated he is also weighing a re-entry into the commission race as a Democrat.

"I have had both Democrats and Republicans say they would support me if I was on the ballot," said Faircloth, who indicated he had not spoken officially to members of the Democratic central committee.

Fink acknowledged he had received calls from Republicans who had expressed interest in changing their party affiliation to compete in November.

The Herald-Mail Articles