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W.Va. attorney announces candidacy for judge's seat

January 23, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Martinsburg attorney on Tuesday announced his candidacy for a judgeship in the 23rd Judicial Circuit of West Virginia's trial court system.

Harry Patton Waddell, a 57-year-old Republican, said in a press release that he intends to file for the circuit's Division 5 judgeship.

"Given the exponential growth occurring in our region, and the corresponding increase in social challenges such as crime, my extensive law experience makes me uniquely qualified to serve as a circuit court judge in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties," Waddell said in the release. "I have an acute understanding of the issues presented in the courts of the Eastern Panhandle, and will be a fair and objective Judge."

The Division 5 seat on the bench is held by Democrat Gina M. Groh of Charles Town, W.Va. Groh was appointed in 2006 by Gov. Joe Manchin, and last week filed for the primary election in May. Circuit judges are elected to eight-year terms and receive $118,000 annually.

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Also on Tuesday, West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland's office posted the filing of Martinsburg attorney Michael D. Lorensen for the Division 2 judgeship of the 23rd Judicial Circuit.

Lorensen is the second Democrat to file for the Division 2 judgeship held by Thomas W. Steptoe Jr., who is will step down after 24 years on the bench at the end of the year.

Democrat Michael S. Santa Barbara, also of Martinsburg, and Republican John Yoder also have filed for the seat, according to Ireland's office.

Waddell said he has worked in private practice for more than 27 years and has specialized in civil litigation, with a particular focus on trial practice throughout West Virginia in the areas of personal injury, medical negligence and employment discrimination. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993.

Waddell lives in Martinsburg with his wife, Barbara.

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