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Early voting set to begin in W.Va.

April 24, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — More than 110,000 registered voters in the Eastern Panhandle can cast their ballot for the May 8 West Virginia primary election as early as Wednesday, the first of 10 days to vote early.

The three early voting locations in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties open at 9 a.m. Residents can cast their ballot at the Berkeley County Voter Registration office at 110 W. King St. in Martinsburg, the Jefferson County Courthouse at 100 E. Washington St. in Charles Town, W.Va., and the Morgan County Courthouse at 77 Fairfax St. in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Ballots can be cast from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except in Morgan County, which provides different hours for voting on Wednesday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Thursday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

Multiple contested races are on tap in Berkeley and Jefferson counties in the election, but Morgan County Sheriff Vince Shambaugh is the only elected county official facing opposition in the primary election, according to County Clerk Debra A. Kesecker.

Incumbent sheriffs Kenneth Lemaster in Berkeley County and Bobby Shirley in Jefferson County also face opposition in their respective bids for a second, four-year term.

Even if all three incumbents win their political party’s nomination next month, they still are expected to have opponents in the November general election.

In the Democratic Party’s primary in Berkeley County, Lemaster, of Martinsburg, is opposed by Michael W. Cox II of Bunker Hill, W.Va., and Charles “Chip” O’Roke of Martinsburg. James W. Barbour III of Martinsburg and John Orem of Inwood, W.Va., are vying to be the Republican nominee for sheriff.

In Jefferson County, Shirley, of Kearneysville, W.Va., is opposed by former Sheriff Everett “Ed” Boober of Charles Town for the Democratic Party’s nomination. The winner will be opposed in November by Republican Earl Ballenger of Millville, W.Va., who is running unopposed.

Shambaugh, of Great Cacapon, W.Va., meanwhile, is opposed in the Republican Party’s primary by Tim Johnson of Berkeley Springs, according to Kesecker. The winner will face Democrat Larry Bradley of Berkeley Springs, who, like Ballenger, is running unopposed.

Other current elected officeholders who have primary election opponents are:

Berkeley County Board of Education incumbents William “Bill” Queen of Martinsburg and James “Ron” Gray of Falling Waters, W.Va., are opposed by David L. Woods of Hedgesville, W.Va., in a nonpartisan race that will be decided by next month’s vote.

In Jefferson County, school board incumbent Gary Kable of Charles Town is opposed by Jim Jenkins of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., Laurie Ogden of Harpers Ferry, Lori R. Stilley of Charles Town, Tom Delauney of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., and Mark Osbourn of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Berkeley County Council incumbent Elaine Mauck, of Martinsburg, is opposed by former County Commissioner Steven C. Teufel. Teufel was defeated in his bid for re-election to a second term by Democrat Anthony J. “Tony” Petrucci in 2008. Mauck is seeking election to a six-year term after being elected in 2010 to a two-year term following the expansion of the three-member county commission to a five-member county council.

In Jefferson County, Democratic incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Ralph A. Lorenzetti Jr. of Harpers Ferry is opposed by former Assistant U.S. Prosecutor Ruth McQuade of Shepherdstown in a bid to keep his seat for four more years. No Republican candidate filed for county prosecutor.

Also in Jefferson County, Democratic Del. Tiffany Lawrence, of Charles Town, is opposed by Richard “Rick” Shuman II, also of Charles Town, in her bid for a third, two-year term. The winner will face Republican Jill Upson, who is running unopposed. 

Incumbent Berkeley County magistrates Harry L. Snow and JoAnn Overington are among 10 Republican candidates vying for five seats on the state court bench. Also running are William “Kirby” Lewis of Inwood, Charles “Charlie” Cole of Hedgesville, Lynn Ann Haines of Falling Waters, Betty Jo Hersh of Falling Waters, Victoria “Vickie” Knight of Hedgesville, Robert L. “Rob” Lowe II of Martinsburg, John C. Vinson of Inwood and Thomas W. Weatherholtz Jr. of Bunker Hill.

The GOP’s nominees are expected to be opposed by five Democratic candidates: incumbent Jim Humphrey of Martinsburg, Tina Marie Jones (Myers) of Martinsburg, Kenneth R. “Ken” Mattson of Inwood, John Sherman of Martinsburg and Joy Walls of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

In Jefferson County, incumbent magistrates Gail C. Boober of Charles Town, Mary Paul Rissler of Charles Town and William E. “Bill” Senseney of Harpers Ferry are opposed in the Democratic primary by newcomer Wendy Torelli of Charles Town. The nominees are expected to face three Republicans: William Arnicar of Ranson, W.Va., Peter Onoszko of Charles Town and Ronald Bell of Charles Town in the general election.

The remaining contested primary election races:

Republicans Larry W. Faircloth of Inwood and Gary W. Kelley of Martinsburg are vying to replace Del. Jonathan Miller in the state Legislature. No Democratic candidate has filed to run in the heavily Republican 60th District in the House of Delegates.

In the 63rd district, the winner of the Republican Party race between Pam Brush and Michael Folk, both of Martinsburg, will face Democrat Donn Marshall in the general election race for the newly added House district in northeastern Berkeley County. Marshall is running unopposed in the Democratic Party’s primary.

The winner of the 67th district race between Republicans Elliot Simon and W. Matthew Harris of Harpers Ferry will face Democrat Stephen Skinner of Shenandoah Junction in the general election. Skinner is unopposed in his bid to replace longtime Democratic Del. John Doyle, who opted not to seek re-election.

In two open races for Berkeley County Council seats, the winner in the Potomac District between Democrats Mark T. Barney of Hedgesville and Larry Lam of Martinsburg will face Republican Edward Wilson of Falling Waters in the general election. Wilson is running unopposed in his bid to win Mauck’s seat or replace outgoing council president Bill Stubblefield, who opted not to seek a second term.

In the Tuscarora District, Republicans James R. Barnhart and Travis W. Mong, both of Martinsburg, are squaring off for the GOP nomination. No Democrat has filed in that district.

In the Jefferson County Commission race, the winner between Republican Kearneysville residents Reese Clabaugh and former County Commissioner Jane Tabb is expected to face Democratic incumbent Frances B. Morgan of Summit Point, W.Va., in the general election. Morgan is running unopposed in the Middleway District race.

Republicans Richard Dennis and Larry Hess, both of Martinsburg, are vying to be their party’s nominee to be Berkeley County’s next assessor. The primary winner is expected to face Democrat Shawn M. Conaughty of Martinsburg, who is running unopposed.

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