By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A single seat on the Mercer County Commission is generating a lot of candidate interest.
As of Thursday, four Democrats and one Republican had filed for the commission seat previously held by the late Joe Coburn. The deadline to file for the May 13 primary election in West Virginia is this Saturday. Local, state and federal races will be determined in the primary contest.
Candidates interested in county-level races can still file today at the Mercer County Clerk’s office in Princeton. Candidacy forms can also be mailed but must be postmarked by midnight Saturday to be processed, according to County Clerk Verlin Moye.
The candidates who have filed to date for the county commission District 3 seat include Democrat Terry Basham, who was appointed by the commission last year to fill the temporary vacancy following Coburn’s death; Democrat Robert Bob Carter of Athens; Democrat Phillip Ball of Athens; Democrat Lyle Cottle of Spanishburg; and Republican Greg Puckett, who serves as the current executive director of Community Connections.
Moye said District 3 covers a large portion of Mercer County, including East River, Jumping Branch, Nemours, Oakvale, Matoaka, Sun Valley, Athens, Flat Top and Lashmeet. The commission seat is a six-year term.
Voters also will select candidates for the Mercer County Board of Education on May 13. Moye said two seats are up in District 2 and one in District 3. Candidates who had filed as of Thursday include incumbent Gene Bailey, District 3; incumbent Greg Prudich, District 2; and James Hurt, District 2.
Moye said additional last-minute filings are possible today and Saturday.
“There is still time for people to file,” Moye said. “There will normally be someone that will come in at the last minute.”
A number of candidates also have filed for seats on the state level.
In the Senate District 6 contest, incumbent Democrat H. Truman Chafin is being challenged by Republican Mark R. Maynard of Genoa.
In the House of Delegates District 25 contest, incumbent Democrat Linda Goode Phillips of Pineville is being challenged by Republican Sue Cline of Brenton.
In the House of Delegates District 26 contest, incumbent Democrat Clif Moore of Thorpe is being challenged by Democrat S.P. “Pat” McKinney of Welch.
In the House of Delegates District 27 contest, incumbent Republicans Joe C. Ellington Jr. of Princeton, Marty Gearheart of Bluefield, and John H. Shott of Bluefield have all filed for re-election. As of Thursday afternoon, no Democratic candidates had filed for the three District 27 House of Delegates seats.
Moye said the county clerk’s office will be sending out notifications to 11,681 voters within the next two weeks or so who may have changed their addresses or who have been idle for two federal election cycles. Federal law requires states to update voter registries.
“We encourage them to fill out those cards and return them,” Moye said. “It is postage paid. They will be getting those around the first week in February.”
— Contact Charles Owens at email@example.com