Magistrate races crowded in Berkeley, Jefferson counties


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Three of Berkeley County’s five incumbent magistrates have filed for election in 2012 and two face opposition in the May 8 primary next week.

Republicans JoAnn B. Overington of Hoffman Road, Martinsburg, and Harry L. Snow of Back Creek Valley Road, Hedgesville, W.Va., along with eight other Republican candidates are vying for five seats on the county-level, state court bench.

Incumbent Magistrate Jim Humphrey, 61, of Riviera Drive, Martinsburg and four other Democrats who filed for the elected judiciary office will advance to the November general election. Berkeley County magistrates receive an annual salary of $57,500. 

Overington, 65, is seeking election to a third, four-year term and Snow, 67, is seeking a fourth term.

Also running for one of five Republican Party nominations next week are William “Kirby” Lewis, 51, of Winchester Avenue, Inwood, W.Va.; Charles “Charlie” Cole, 62, of McCoys Ferry Road, Hedgesville; Lynn Ann Haines, 33, of Berkshire Drive, Falling Waters, W.Va.; Betty Jo Hersh, 48, of Anniversary Falls Drive, Falling Waters; Victoria “Vickie” Knight, 28, of Roys Lane, Hedgesville; Robert L. “Rob” Lowe II, 62, of Loweland Drive, Martinsburg; John C. Vinson, 63, of Winchester Ave., Inwood; and Thomas W. Weatherholtz Jr., 37, of Garnet Drive, Bunker Hill, W.Va.

In addition to Humphrey, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominees are Tina Marie Jones, 40, of Tuscarora Pike, Martinsburg, Kenneth R. “Ken” Mattson, 42, of Tabler Station Road, Inwood, John Sherman, 47, of Turf Drive, Martinsburg, and Joy Walls, 50, of Reunion Corner Road, Gerrardstown, W.Va.

At the bottom of the state’s pyramid-like structured court system, magistrates hear misdemeanor cases, conduct preliminary examinations in felony cases and hear civil arguments with $5,000 or less in dispute. A magistrate also decides whether search and arrest warrants sought by police are issued and magistrates also arraign individuals upon their arrest, among other duties.

— In Jefferson County, seven candidates, including the three Democratic incumbents, a Democratic challenger and three Republicans are after the three open seats in the May 8 primary.

Magistrates serve four-year terms and are paid nearly $55,000 a year for their services. Voting is done at large and the top three vote-getters in both party primaries will be nominated to run in the Nov. 6 general election.

Because only three Republicans are running, all three are assured slots on the November ballot. 

The GOP candidates are Bill Arnicar of 25 Crab Apple Lane, Ranson, W.Va.;  Peter Onoszko of 13 Anbrey Court, Charles Town and Ronald “Ronnie” Bell of 100 Cove Quarter Drive, Charles Town.

Four Democrats are running in that party’s primary, assuring that the one with the fewest votes will lose.

The Democrats are incumbents Bill Senseney of 550 Kidwiler Road, Charles Town; Gail C. Boober of 89 Kings Nest, Kearneysville, W.Va., and Mary Paul Rissler of 279 Old Cave Road, Charles Town. The Democratic challenger is Wendy Torelli of 63 Kimberwicke Drive S., Charles Town.

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