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Berkeley Democrats scout for commission candidates

May 20, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Berkeley County Democrats are seeking potential candidates to run for a seat on the Berkeley County Commission before time runs out to post a name on November's election ballot, the party's central committee chairman said Friday.

John Fink, chairman of the county's Democratic Executive Committee, said he needs to be contacted by those interested in being candidates by Wednesday, in time for committee members to nominate a candidate the next day, if the state elections board fails to convene in time to grant an extension.

Fink called his effort to set up an application process a fail-safe measure in the event the board fails to meet before the party's 21-day deadline to field a candidate expires.

It's also his way of making the process as democratic as possible, Fink said.

"I want to get some notice out to say that yes, we did open up the process," Fink said. "It should be open to the general public."

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Fink said he has fielded as many as 300 calls inquiring about the opening, including from a number of Republicans interested in running for the commission seat.

"I can't say it made me feel good," Fink said early this week.

The Democrats' candidate vacancy was created as a result of the death two weeks ago of local Realtor Sonny Brown.

Brown, who was the only Democrat listed on the election ballot running for the commission seat, received 1,891 votes in the May 9 primary.

If the election board grants the requested extension, the committee has until Aug. 21 to name a candidate, or until Aug. 23 for the chairman to pick one, Fink said, adding the party's newly elected central committee will convene for the first time July 1 and hope to have a candidate selected soon afterward.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Bill Stubblefield in November. Stubblefield, who outdistanced his closest rival, Larry Faircloth, by more than 350 votes, was certified as that party's nominee following the completion of an election canvass earlier this week.

Interested Republican candidates may call Fink at 304-262-9988 or send an e-mail to jdfink007@adelphia.net.

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