2020 has been one strange year; “normal” is on hiatus. Having presidential, state and local elections in the midst of a pandemic made this year’s voting activities complex and challenging.
American political partisanship has become extreme in the past decade; the political party is now often more important than the individual running for office. That can be dangerous if voters don’t care what a political candidate has done, said or plans to do, but simply has a the “right” political label.
Thankfully, the Huntington-area election results illustrate an appreciation of individuals over political party.
In our area contests, many of those elected and re-elected have worked diligently for and are appreciated by their constituents. Huntington’s Mayor, Steve Williams, a Democrat, was elected to an unprecedented third term.
As almost 60% of Cabell County votes were for President Trump, Williams’ re-election indicated that Huntington residents are willing to split their ticket and vote for the person they think best represents their community’s needs. Real economic progress and development occurred in the past eight years of Williams’ tenure, and voters want that to continue.
Even though the West Virginia Legislature now has a strong Republican majority, Democratic Sen. Robert “Bob” Plymale, representing Cabell and parts of Wayne County was reelected to his eighth term, because he, too, has met the interests of the community, especially in education and business.
All statewide offices were won by Republicans, yet local voters reelected West Virginia House of Delegates Democrat Shawn Hornbuckle and Republicans Daniel Linville and John Mandt from District 16 and Democrat Chad Lovejoy and Republican Dr. Matt Rohrbach from District 17.
Democrats hold the majority on Huntington’s City Council, yet there are quite a few new faces and new Republican representatives.
Despite utilizing mail-in, early and in-person voting, no West Virginia elections were contested.
It appears that West Virginia’s Secretary of State’s Office did a fine job. Reports from secretary of states offices across the nation indicate that they, too, have worked diligently to have fair and well-regulated elections.
No one who runs for election, and truly wants the position, is happy to lose. It takes a mature thoughtful person to speak as Huntington’s Republican mayoral candidate Scott Caserta did following his loss. He said, “Huntington’s choice has been made. I wish the mayor well and I wish Huntington well. My prayers will be with both.”
Sadly, President Trump has immense difficulty accepting the results of the presidential election, which all election officials nationwide indicate is accurate.
It is unfortunate that Trump has not progressed through his denial and personal loss permitting the nation to move ahead at a desirable pace. He would seem more stable and presidential had he responded in the same mode as did Mr. Caserta.
The election showed that Huntington-area voters are pleased with many of their elected officials and cast their ballots for candidates with good track records as opposed to simply making the decision by political party.