HUNTINGTON — Parties across the state Tuesday chose their respective candidates to run in the November election as all seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates are up for re-election.
With just a few uncontested races in the area, voters in Cabell and Wayne counties had to narrow down the broad candidate pool.
In District 16, which includes most of Huntington, eastern Cabell County and a portion of Lincoln County, voters had nine candidates to vet in the two parties, including three incumbents. The district has three seats currently held by Democrat Sean Hornbuckle and Republicans Daniel Linville and John Mandt Jr.
In the Democratic race, as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, incumbent Hornbuckle, Anna Lewis and Dakota Nelson were the top three candidates with 4,226, 2,321 and 2,300 votes, respectively. Challenger Carol Polan had 1,915 votes. It was unclear how many votes write-in candidate Noel Jordan received as of press time.
Hornbuckle, who is on his second term as a representative, said as a native to his district, he was excited his community had such faith in him to represent them.
“I’m excited for all the other winners,” he said. “I hope we can get the best team of three together to represent this area.”
Lewis, a 39-year-old real estate agent from Huntington, said she was excited to reach this milestone and get one step closer to seeing her plans for the area come to fruition.
“I am feeling excited to get back to having a real campaign after quarantine,” Lewis said. “I’m looking forward to meeting my constituents face-to-face.”
Nelson is a 30-year-old small-business owner from Huntington.
In the Republican race as of 10 p.m., incumbent Linville, incumbent Mandt and Mark Bates were the top three candidates with 2,531, 2,388 and 2,122 votes, respectively. Challenger Jakob Jitima had 1,029 votes.
Linville, who is on his first term as a representative, said he was thankful for all the people who had faith in him. He said serving was an honor.
“There is no greater compliment than a vote for an elected official,” Linville said. “Now that I have a record to run and stand on that the voters continue to have confidence in me is a great feeling. I look forward to the next several months. I hope in the general I also have that confidence of the voters.”
Mandt, who is also serving his first term as a representative, said he is thankful his party continues to have trust in him. He said the endorsement from the voters was his strongest endorsement.
“I just appreciate all the support,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot in the last two years, some justified. I have a lot of responsibility in Charleston. I love what I do to represent my district.”
Bates, 56, of Huntington, is currently the chairman of Huntington’s City Council. He has reached his term limit on council and said he wanted to continue to serve his community in a new capacity.
In District 17, which includes the West End of Huntington including Wayne County, only the Democratic race was contested. The district has two seats currently occupied by Democrat Chad Lovejoy and Republican Matt Rohrbach.
As of 10 p.m., incumbent Lovejoy was in a tight lead over Jeanette Rowsey with 2,852 votes to Rowsey’s 2,584.
Lone Republican candidate Rohrbach had 2,697 votes.
Wayne County voters in District 19 have no incumbents this year, instead choosing from a selection of new and seasoned candidates for its two seats.
With all precincts reporting, Ric Griffith and David Thompson were the winners of the Democratic race with 2,125 votes and 1,237 votes, respectively. Challengers Tammy Williamson had 1,067 votes; Josh Mathis had 1,104; Tom Jarrell, 982; and Tyson Smith, 262.
Griffith is the former mayor of Kenova.
In the Republican race with all precincts reporting, Derrick Evans and Jason Stephens were the winners with 2,160 and 1,073 votes, respectively. Challenger E. Jay Marcum was just behind Stephens by three votes.
The 19th District is currently represented by Democrats Ken Hicks and Robert Thomas.
The 16th District, which includes Barboursville and southeast Cabell County, was uncontested in both races this round. Republican incumbent Evan Worrell had 1,758 votes and Democratic candidate Paul David Ross had 1,495 votes.