2018 Primary Election Report

by WV Chamber of Commerce
May 9, 2018

Voters cast their ballots across West Virginia [ on May 7 ] in the 2018 Primary Election.   Voter turnout statewide was 24 percent (up from 19 percent in the most recent non-presidential primary in 2014).  Approximately 291,000 of West Virginia’s 1.2 million registered voters cast ballots in yesterday’s races.

In the closely watched race for US Senate, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey won the GOP nomination with 35 percent of the vote, defeating Congressman Evan Jenkins (29 percent) and coal executive Don Blankenship (20 percent).   Morrisey carried 32 of the state’s 55 counties.   Morrisey will now face incumbent Senator Joe Manchin in November.   Manchin easily won the Democratic nomination yesterday, defeating Paula Swearengin by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent.

In the race for the U.S. Congressional Third District (the seat being vacated by Congressman Evan Jenkins), state Delegate Carol Miller won the contested GOP race with 24 percent of the vote, defeating Delegate Rupie Phillips (19 percent), former GOP Party Chairman Conrad Lucas (18 percent), and Delegate Marty Gearheart (18 percent).    Miller will face State Senator Richard Ojeda in November.   Ojeda defeated Delegate Shirley Love in the Democratic Primary by a margin of 52 to 25 percent.

In the U.S. Congressional First District, WVU law professor Kendra Fershee defeated businessman Ralph Baxter by a margin of 47 to 38 percent to claim the Democratic nomination.  Fershee will face incumbent Congressman David McKinley in November.   McKinley was unopposed for the GOP nomination.

Congressman Alex Mooney will face former Hillary Clinton staffer Talley Sergent in November for the U.S. Second Congressional District.  Sergent defeated Aaron Scheinberg by a margin of 62 to 38 percent to win the Democratic nomination.  Incumbent Mooney was unopposed for the GOP nomination.

The West Virginia state legislature will see many new faces in January 2019.   Nineteen incumbent House Delegates (including current House Speaker Tim Armstead) did not seek re-election this year, due to legislative retirements or choosing to run for other offices.

Three (3) incumbent State Senators were defeated in yesterday’s Primary Election.   Delegate Bill Hamilton (Upshur County) defeated incumbent Senator Robert Karnes in the 11th Senatorial District by a margin of 61 to 39 percent.   Hamilton will face Democrat Laura Finch in Nvember.    Incumbent Senator Mark Drennan, recently appointed to the Senate to replace long-time Senator Mike Hall, was defeated in his attempt to retain his Senate seat by newcomer Eric Tarr in the 4th Senatorial District by a margin of 56 to 44 percent.   Tarr will face the Democratic nominee, attorney Brian Prim, in November.    Senator Lynne Arvon, a former House Delegate who was recently appointed to replace former Senator Jeff Mullins, lost her bid to retain her Senate seat and was defeated by Rollan Roberts in the 9th Senatorial District.   Roberts will now face former Senator Bill Wooten in November, with Wooten winning the Democratic nomination.

Only two incumbent House Delegates seeking re-election were defeated in yesterday’s Primary Election.   Incumbent Delegate Phil Isner failed to win the Democratic nomination in the 43rd House District.    Delegate Chanda Adkins lost her bid for the GOP nomination in the 31st House District.   All other incumbent House members seeking re-election won their nomination races yesterday.