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Ketchum tops court voting

Nov. 05, 2008 @ 02:08 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Huntington Attorney and Democrat Menis Ketchum was gathering the most votes Tuesday night in a close race to become one of two new justices on the five-member West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

"I'm just tickled to death. I'm the first Supreme Court Justice elected from Huntington, West Virginia, since the 1940s," Ketchum said.

While Ketchum seemed assured of election, Democrat and former Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman was in a tighter race for the second spot.

With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Ketchum had 310,068 votes, while Workman followed with 292,161 votes. Lone Republican Beth Walker had 284,789 votes.

Ketchum has been practicing law for almost 40 years. He said his personal campaign efforts paid off.

"I have very rarely been home in the last year, and I never dreamed that personal contact through the 55 counties would pay off like this," he said.

Workman served as a circuit court judge from 1981 through 1988 and was the first woman elected to statewide office. She was elected to the Supreme Court in 1988 and served through 2000.

Each justice will get a full, 12-year term on West Virginia's only appeals court.

The candidates will take the seats held by Chief Justice Elliott "Spike" Maynard, who was defeated in the May primary, and Larry V. Starcher, who did not seek re-election.

All three candidates said restoring the Supreme Court's integrity was their main priority following questions of conflicts of interest involving the court in recent years.

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