Polling place


PRINCETON — The field has been set for the May 12 primary as well as many candidates who are assured of being on the November ballot.

Saturday was the last day to file for office.

In House District 27, which includes most of Mercer County and part of Raleigh County, another Republican, Jeremiah Nelson of Princeton filed to run for one of the three seats up for grabs this fall.

Nelson will face four other Republicans, Incumbent Delegates Joe Ellington and Eric Porterfield, both of Princeton, former Del. Marty Gearheart of Bluefield and Doug Smith of Princeton, in the May 12 primary that will determine which three of those five will be on the November ballot.

Del. John Shott is not seeking reelection.

Tina Russell of Bluefield is the only Democrat to file to run for the 27th District so she will be on the ballot in November.

State Sen. Chandler Swope of Bluefield, a Republican in District 6, also has filed for reelection and will be challenged to be on the November ballot by Republican Wesley Blankenship of Baisden. No Democrat filed to run for that seat.

In Mercer County races, incumbent Commissioner Greg Puckett, a Republican, was the only candidate to file for that position so he will run unopposed in November.

Former Bluefield city attorney Brian Cochran of Princeton was a late filer for the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney position and will face fellow Republican, incumbent George Sitler of Bramwell.

Since no Democrat filed, Sitler and Cochran will face off in the May primary to see which one will be on the ballot in November.

Sitler has worked in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since Jan. 1, 2005, and was elected to his current position in 2016.

“I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made to improve services to crime victims in our county,” he said. “During my term, we’ve secured over $250,000.00 in federal grant funding for additional child abuse prosecutors, investigators and victim advocates. My office has brought 30 serious felony cases to trial, obtaining the most severe penalties available under our laws.”

Sitler said his office has “also worked with our law enforcement agencies and school administrators to improve security in Mercer County Schools. I have worked with our local legislators to sponsor legislation to increase the penalties for crimes resulting to injuries to children, distracted driving, and methamphetamine distribution.”

“I have tried more child abuse, sexual assault and murder cases than any attorney currently practicing in our county, and want to continue serving Mercer County’s citizens in the pursuit of justice,“ he said.

Cochran is an attorney with Brewster Morehous in Bluefield.

He is a former law enforcement officer with 16 years of criminal and traffic investigation experience in West Virginia, including at the city and county levels and 12 years as a trooper with the West Virginia State Police.

Cochran said it was his experience as a law enforcement officer that sparked his interest in being a prosecutor and he felt the time was right to pursue that dream.

“I was in my first murder case (as a police officer) and it was my first experience dealing with a prosecuting attorney, who is a judge now,” Cochran said. “I realized back then how important it is for successful investigations and alternately successful prosecutions, and that there must be an open line of communication with your police officers and your prosecutors.”

In 2004, Cochran went to law school and has been with Brewster Morehous for eight years.

“I hope, having my experience as a city police officer, deputy sheriff and State Trooper, that the prosecuting attorney’s office is a logical step from my law enforcement experiences,” he said, adding that, as a prosecutor, “you have to be fair but once you realize what you have to do, I will aggressive in prosecuting criminals in the county.”

In the Mercer County Sheriff’s race, incumbent Republican Tommy Bailey of Princeton will face Democratic challenger William E. “Bill” Gearhart, also of Princeton in November.

All incumbent county magistrates have filed, including Mike Flanigan, District 1; Susan Honaker, District 2; Sandra Dorsey, District 3; Charles Poe, District 4; and William Holroyd, District 5.

Challengers in the non-partisan race for Mercer County magistrates are Perry P. Richmond for District 2; Keith Compton in District 3; and Bill Lightfoot and Marvin Lockett for District 5.

Incumbent Mercer County Assessor Sharon Gearhart of Princeton, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Lyle Cottle of Spanishburg.

In the non-partisan race for a school board seat, incumbent Paul Hodges of Athens is being challenged by Jim Bailey of Bluefield and Richard Dillon, also of Bluefield. All will be on the November ballot.

In McDowell County and part of Mercer County, House District 26 Incumbent Del. Ed Evans of Welch, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican Wesley R. Payne of Yukon.

McDowell County races include Incumbent Democratic Commissioner Cecil Dale Patterson of Caretta being challenged by fellow Democrats Larry Barber of Gary and Herb Billings of War.

Incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Emily Miller is being challenged by Brittany R. Puckett. Both are Democrats.

The sheriff’s race will see Chief Deputy James E. “Boomer” Muncy Jr. of Warriormine running against fellow Democrat Joseph Jones of Havaco for the nomination. Republican Kenneth Hicks of Paynesville is also running for that seat.

Sherriff Martin B. West of Roderfield did not seek reelection to that position, but he is running for assessor. Incumbent Assessor A. Ray Bailey will square off with West for the nomination to run against Republican Gary R. Hall of Welch in November for the position.

In the non-partisan magistrate races, W. Joey Proffitt and Steve Cox are running in Division 1; Andy Vance and Richard Vandyke in Division 2; and Danny Mitchell in Division 3.

The non-partisan school board race will see Mike Callaway, Mike Vallo and Georgia Muncey West in the Brown’s Creek District race; Sandi Fletcher Blankenship and Harold Smith in the North Elkins District; and David Williams in the Big Creek District.

In the two House seats in the 28th District, covering Monroe and Summers counties, Incumbent Republicans Roy G. Cooper of Wayside and Jeffrey Pack Cool Ridge have filed to run for reelection. Ryne Nahodil of Jumping Branch, a Democrat, has also filed to run for one of those seats. All will be on the November ballot.

Four Republicans are vying for a spot to be on the November ballot for the Monroe County commission seat up for grabs in the Western District.

Incumbent Commissioner William (Bill) Miller is being challenged for the GOP nomination to run for that position by Melvin Young, Daniel Tickle and Dean Munsey. All are from Peterstown.

The winner of that primary will face Democrat Dane Wills of Peterstown in November.

Democrat Justin R. St.Clair of Peterstown will run unopposed for the prosecuting attorney’s position.

Republicans James Hylton of Sinks Grove and Jeff Jones of Gap Mills are vying to be on the November ballot to run against Democrat Lee Carter for Monroe County Sheriff.

Incumbent Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick did not file for reelection.

In the race for county assessor, Republicans Sarah F. Martin and Chad Parker have filed to run as well as Democrat Caroline L. Sparks. All are from Union.

Incumbent Assessor Norbert Netzel did not file for reelection.

Division 1 Magistrate Kevin L. Miller of Union will run unopposed, as will Division 2 Magistrate Frank C. Basile of Peterstown.

Three seats will be on the ballot for the Monroe County Board of Education.

Patrick Brown of Gap Mills is running for the Eastern District seat; Sabrina Stutts and Mike Smith, both of Peterstown, are vying for the Western District seat; and Sally Wallace of Pickaway and Charlie R. Sams of Sinks Grove are running for the Central District seat.

All will be on the November ballot in the non-partisan race.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is being challenged for the Republican nomination by Larry Eugene Butcher of Washington, W.Va., and Allen Whitt of Kenna. Three Democrats are vying to oppose the GOP primary winner: former state Sen. Richard Ojeda II of Holden, Richie Robb of South Charleston and Paula Jean Swearengin of Sophia.

Rep. Carol Miller, R-3rd District, will face Russell Siegel of Lewisburg for the GOP nomination to run for that Congressional seat. Democrats Paul E. Davis of Huntington, Jeff Lewis of Milton, Hilary Turner of Huntington and Lacy Watson of Bluefield are seeking the nomination to be on the November ballot.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice has several challengers for the GOP nod to run in November. They are: Shelby Jean Fitzhugh of Martinsburg, Michael Folk of Martinsburg, Brooke Lunsford of Salt Rock, Charles R. Sheedy Sr. of Cameron, Doug Six of Burton and Woody Thrasher of Bridgeport.

Democrats Douglas Hughes of Logan, Jody Murphy of Parkersburg, Ban Salango of Charleston, Steven Smith of Charleston and Ron Stollings for Danville are vying to face the GOP candidate for Governor in November.

Republican Incumbent Secretary of State Mac Warner is being challenged by Democrat Natalie Tennant, the former secretary of state that Warner defeated in 2016.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of Harper’s Ferry, a Republican, will run against either Sam Brown Petsonk of Edmond or Isaac Sponaugle of Franklin, the two Democrats who will face off in the May 12 primary.

The general election will be held on Nov. 3.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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