HUNTINGTON — Area representation in the West Virginia House of Delegates will not change at all for 2021.
All incumbents running in Districts 16, 17 and 18 won re-election Tuesday, based on votes as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In District 16, which includes parts of Cabell and Lincoln counties, Democrat incumbent Sean Hornbuckle had a strong lead with 8,767 votes, followed by Republican incumbent Daniel Linville and John Mandt Jr. with 7,342 and 7,275.
Mandt is technically not an incumbent after he resigned from his position in early October following the release of offensive social media messages he and others made. Mandt originally said they were fake, but then came out and said they were taken out of context. Mandt originally said he was not seeking re-election but soon after decided to continue his campaign. Zachary Perry was appointed to fill Mandt’s seat for two months.
Mandt was tied with Republican opponent Mark Bates for votes in Cabell County. Lincoln County voters swayed the vote, knocking Bates out and giving 751 votes to Linville. Bates, former Huntington City Council chair, ended with 7,207 votes.
Democrats Anna Lewis and Dakota Nelson lost with 5,801 and 5,595 votes, respectively.
Hornbuckle said it was an honor to have so many votes in such a diverse district. He said he looks forward to representing everyone in the district.
“To have all that support from the nooks and crannies of this district shows that this district is ready to lead,” he said.
Hornbuckle said he is looking forward to addressing issues that were really highlighted by the pandemic, including health care for West Virginians, supporting public schools and making sure West Virginia small businesses can compete.
In District 18, which includes parts of Cabell County including Barboursville, Republican incumbent Evan Worrell handily won his second election, with 5,473 votes compared to 2,360 votes for Democratic opponent Paul David Ross.
“I just finished picking up all my yard signs, and I’m amazed at all the support for my campaign this year,” Worrell said. “I want to thank the voters in our community for trusting me with their vote. I am truly humbled.”
Worrell said he is looking forward to advancing policies for working families to make it easier to “live, work and raise a family,” which is the majority line for House delegates.
“We have to invest in health care options and educational opportunities to combat the current pandemic,” he said.
In District 17, which includes parts of Huntington and Wayne County, incumbents Matt Rohrbach, a Republican, and Chad Lovejoy, a Democrat, won re-election, with 7,312 and 5,990 votes, respectively. Democratic opponent Jeanette Rowsey had 5,121 votes.
Rohrbach said he was pleased his constituents were proud of the work he has done in Charleston. As the chairman of the House Committee on substance abuse, Rohrbach said he will continue to work hard to curb the addiction epidemic.
“I’m going to keep going,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of ground on the substance abuse problem, but there is still a lot to do.”
Lovejoy said he was thrilled to be selected again by his neighbors to be their voice in Charleston.
“I commend my friends, Matt Rohrbach and Jeanette Rowsey, on well-run races and look forward to the hard work ahead,” Lovejoy said.