Candidate re-enters Berkeley County sheriff's race as write-in

May 22, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two weeks after his narrow defeat in the primary election, John Orem re-entered the race Tuesday for Berkeley County sheriff as an official write-in candidate.

Orem, 43, of Inwood, W.Va., was defeated on May 8 by fellow Republican James W. Barbour of Martinsburg. Barbour finished with 2,777 votes, ahead of Orem’s 2,751, according to official results released by Berkeley County Clerk John W. Small’s office.

“Many ask how do I think I can win as a write in, and I know being a write in is a challenge. But the people in this county need a change for the positive,” Orem said of his decision to file, which was confirmed by the Berkeley County Voter Registration office.

“I have a very motivated base (of supporters) and I believe the only reason I am not currently the Republican nominee is because my base was sure that I would win 3 to 1 and felt no need to vote in the primary,” Orem said.


Orem added that he will do his best to make sure every voter knows who I am and what I am about and that he intends to “take this election by storm.”

Orem said he has the law enforcement background that is only rivaled by current Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster and a management background “that none of the candidates can compete with.”

Lemaster easily defeated two Democratic challengers in his bid for a second, four-year term in the Democratic Party’s primary race. Lemaster received 2,762 votes and challengers Charles “Chip” O’Roke and Michael W. Cox received 811 and 715 votes, respectively, according to official results.

Orem noted that the top three candidates in the primary election each received about 2,700 votes.

According to state code, the names of official write-in candidates are not printed on the ballot, but the names of all such candidates are posted at all appropriate precincts during early voting and on election day, according to the website for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office.

The last day to file as an official write-in candidate for offices on the ballot in the Nov. 6 general election is Sept. 18, according to Tennant’s office.

More information about filing as a write-in, minor party or independent candidate is available on Tennant’s website at

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