Several candidates vied for positions in this year’s primary election, which was held Tuesday, May 13th.
Candidates for the Tucker County Commission were incumbent Democrat Mike Rosenau and Republican candidate Patrick Darlington. Prior to the election, Rosenau stated, “The race will actually be in the fall, but I’m really excited as I’ve always been for Tucker County.” He is serving currently his first term on the Commission. Darlington said, “My wife and I chose to make our home in Tucker County and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We are local business owners and employ several Tucker County residents. We truly care about Tucker County and hope to make a difference. The election process is an exciting experience. I appreciate the support I’ve received and look forward to the election in November.”
Five candidates competed for three seats on the Tucker County Board of Education, which is decided during the primary. Candidates included Cheat River District: Andrew Meador and Kevin White, Shavers Fork District: Judy Fairbanks and Blackwater District: incumbent Janet Preston and Kimberly Flanagan. Meador said he is new to the election process and learned of the “odd complexity” involved in running for the BOE. Only two candidates can sit on the BOE from each district. Because one of the seats is held currently by the Cheat River District and one by the Shavers Fork District, only one candidate can win the election from each, meaning he and White cannot both be elected. “The race has been pleasant. Everybody seemed to be running for the position and not against one another.”
This was White’s second experience in the election process after a run for the Tucker County Commission., “I’ve enjoyed my time out talking to the people about concerns regarding the school system, sharing my point of view and giving input on how we can solve these problems together as a community. I enjoy getting out there and listening to voters of our county.” Fairbanks, also new to the election process, stated, “It has been kind of exciting. I enjoyed it−win or lose.” She explained she has been attending BOE meetings regularly since she filed her candidacy. “I wanted to learn about the job. I’m impressed with the board members and how they handle themselves. That was an education for me!”
Incumbent Preston explained the reason she wanted to remain on the BOE. “I think it’s important. I feel like I have something to contribute. Education is one of the most important things you can provide to children. I hope to use my experiences to make our education system the best it can be.” Flanagan, who has served as a teacher and principal in Canada, said she found her first experience with the election process both “exciting and nerve-wracking. I’m excited because I love working with the kids, faculty and parents in the County.” She voiced concerns over the need for fundraising to meet expenses. “There’s gotta be a way of making things easier for everyone.”
Running for the position of Tygarts Valley Conservation District Supervisor were Republicans David C. Bonner and Debbie Stevens. Neither could be reached for comment on Monday. Candidates for the Party Executive Committees were Cheat River District: none filed for either party, Shavers Fork District: Republican Bruce A. Kolsun and none filed for the Democratic Party, and Blackwater District: Republican Fran Shupp and Democratic Party none filed. Kolsun, who served on the committee once before as Chairman, said he entered the race because “I wanted to be back involved in helping Tucker County and Tucker County Republicans.” Shupp could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Preliminary election results were as follows: Tucker County Commissioner (D) Rosenau 606 votes, (R) Darlington 488; Tucker County Board of Education – representing Cheat River District White received 978 votes, representing Blackwater District Preston received 709, representing Shavers Fork District Fairbanks received 622, representing Blackwater District Flanagan received 597 and representing Cheat River District Meador received 243.
In addition to empty seats, the BOE campaigned hard to pass an Excess Tax Levy for Education. The board proposed the levy to help meet the needs of its 1,023 students. According to the BOE website, the levy would mean a tax increase of .000516 percent of assessed value of Class II property (residential) and .001032 percent of Class III and IV (vehicles, rental properties, etc.); for $100,000 market value property the cost translates to about $30 per year. However, the preliminary count indicated that the levy failed by three votes, 682 for and 685 against. Tucker County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Eddie Campbell stated, “Obviously we’re disappointed. The only group that suffers is the kids, and that was the message we tried to get out. We’ll regroup and come at it again the next chance we get.” Board Member Bud Parsons added, “Hopefully, when they do the canvas we’ll come out ahead. It’s all about the kids. Some people just don’t understand.”
For the Tygarts Valley Conservation District Supervisor (R) David C. Bonner received 736 votes and (R) Debbie Stevens 620. Regarding the Party Executive Committees: County Executive Committee Cheat River District none filed; Shavers Fork District (R) Bruce A. Kolsun 127, (D) none filed; Blackwater District (R) Fran Shupp 111, (D) none filed.
House of Delegates 47th Delegate District candidates were voted upon by part of Tucker and Barbour Counties. Preliminary results for Tucker County were as follows: (D) Ken Auvil 181 votes, (D) Tammy Stemple 137, (R) Clayton D. Moore 67, (R) Danny Wagner 57, (R) Bob Perrine Jr. 35 and (R) Derek H. Hart 30.
Some of the candidates were available for comment after the results were posted. Rosenau commented, “As I stated before, I enjoy serving the people of Tucker County. I look forward to keeping Tucker County moving ahead.” White said, “It’s time to go to work. I look forward to working with the other members of the BOE, help to make positive results and hearing input from the public on improvements that need to be made. I appreciate the confidence of the citizens of Tucker County in my abilities and I’m very honored.” Preston stated, “I’m happy that I was re-elected. I’m disappointed that the levy appears to have failed.” Regarding her experience Fairbanks said, “It was exciting. I enjoyed being up there with everything going on. I give thanks to the Lord. Now my kids can relax and I’ll give it a try. I am very disappointed about the levy.”
Although he was not elected to the BOE, Meador said he was disappointed but knew it would be a difficult race. “I wasn’t surprised, but I tried. I’m not sure if I’ll run again. One of the incentives for entering the race was my daughter, who has four years left of school. I wanted to accomplish some goals during that time−we’ll see. I wish the new members good luck and hope they continue to improve on the educational system.
Detailed election results for each district will be published after the final canvas is completed.