CHARLESTON — After governor, primary elections for other statewide constitutional officers were lacking high drama, with uncontested races for three of the five offices.
In the Democratic primary for attorney general, four-term Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, perhaps best known for his legal challenges attempting to compel Gov. Jim Justice to reside in Charleston, faced Beckley labor lawyer Sam Petsonk, who previously worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Carte Goodwin.
With early returns Tuesday, Petsonk had jumped out to a 54% to 46% lead.
The winner faces two-term incumbent Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who ran unopposed Tuesday.
In 2018, Morrisey ran against U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and lost, despite support from President Donald Trump. Manchin portrayed Morrisey as a carpetbagger from New Jersey, and emphasized his days as a Washington lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies, and his participation in a lawsuit to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act.
The most hotly contested race of the night was for agriculture commissioner, where one-term incumbent Kent Leonhardt faced Wayne County farm owner Ray Ramey in the Republican primary.
There was a three-person race among Democrats, pitting Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, a cattle farmer with 20 years of legislative service, against William “J.R.” Keplinger, a Hardy County farmer and businessman, and Dave Miller, a Preston County farmer and a former legislator and deputy agriculture commissioner.
With early returns Tuesday, incumbent Leonhardt and Democrat challenger Beach jumped out to commanding leads, with Beach holding about a 2-to-1 advantage over his opponents.
Three statewide constitutional offices had uncontested primaries Tuesday.
For secretary of state, Republican incumbent Mac Warner will face former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in a rematch of the 2016 general election.
Longtime state Treasurer John Perdue will be seeking his seventh and final term of office, challenged by Riley Moore, a former one-term Republican delegate from Berkeley County and grandson of three-term governor Arch A. Moore Jr.
State Auditor J.B. McCuskey is running for election to a second term, facing Democrat Mary Ann Claytor, a 20-plus-year employee in the Auditor’s Office.