Wolfe, Williams to vie for mayor
HUNTINGTON -- After three years of working together in Huntington city government, Kim Wolfe and Steve Williams will face each other in November's mayoral election.
Both Wolfe, the Republican incumbent, and Williams, the Democratic city councilman and finance committee chairman, cruised to victories over their challengers in Tuesday's primary election to earn their respective party nominations.
With all 40 city precincts reporting, unofficial returns show Wolfe with a 318-vote victory over political newcomer Dale Anderson II. Wolfe was losing early in the evening but slowly took control of the race and finished with 1,100 votes to Anderson's 782.
Williams, meanwhile, coasted past small-business owner Stephen Anderson Jr. Williams had 3,032 votes to Stephen Anderson's 952.
While Wolfe and Williams ran low-key primary election campaigns, both candidates have positioned themselves for what is shaping up to be a grueling campaign trail this fall. It will also mark the first time since Huntington switched back to a strong mayor form of government in 1985 that a mayoral incumbent has faced a sitting City Council member or any other city official in the general election.
Both candidates are familiar with each other after working closely for three years and both have records on pressing issues that are likely to come into play over the next several months.
In his bid for a second term, Wolfe has focused on the partnerships he has forged with other entities, a reduction in crime and efforts to keep the city clean, progress at KineticPark and working with state leaders to alter police and fire pension funds. He also has touted his support for an occupation tax, saying it's the right move for the city even if it may not be the most politically astute move.
Wolfe, who was at the Cabell County Courthouse watching election returns, said his first term was spent building momentum with the private sector. His experience will carry him to a second term, he said.
"We're heading in the right direction and I think people want to see that continue," Wolfe said.
For Williams, it is his second time making it to the general election as a mayoral candidate. He defeated Mayor Bobby Nelson in the 1993 primary election but lost to Republican Jean Dean in the general election.
The councilman, who was elected to the body in 2008 after a 14-year break from public office, has geared his campaign toward correcting the city's financial problems, developing "organic growth" in the city budget and switching to a form of government that supports a city manager running the day-to-day operations.
Wolfe has done adequate job as mayor during the past three years, but the city needs someone who can do better than that, Williams said.
"Frankly, we have an array of issues from a regulatory standpoint, from a financial standpoint and from a job development standpoint," Williams said. "We need someone who has been active in all of those areas, and that's why I can make a compelling case to the people of Huntington."