Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 28, 2014

The race is on

Mercer, Monroe, McDowell county ballots are set

By CHARLES OWENS and ANNE ELGIN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Five Democrats and one Republican are vying for their party’s nomination on May 13 in the race for a single seat on the Mercer County Commission.

The deadline to file for local, state and federal elections was midnight Saturday. The ballot is now set, although it is possible that some candidate forms could still be in the mail. Any candidacy forms received in the mail over the next few days will be processed as long as they were postmarked before the midnight Jan. 25 filing deadline, Jake Glance, a spokesman for West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, said.

In Mercer County, the race to fill the commission seat vacated by the late Joe Coburn is generating the most attention.

The five Democrats vying for their party’s nomination are Terry Basham, who was appointed by the commission last year to fill the temporary vacancy following Coburn’s death; Robert W. “Bob” Carter of Athens; Phillip B. Ball of Athens; Lyle Cottle of Spanishburg; and John Sommers of Rock.

Greg Puckett, the current executive director of Community Connections, is the lone Republican candidate in the commission race. He will face one of the five Democrats vying for their party’s nomination this November.

Also in Mercer County, three Republican lawmakers representing Delegate District 27 in the state Legislature — incumbents Joe C. Ellington Jr. of Princeton, Marty Gearheart of Bluefield, and John H. Shott of Bluefield — will apparently be uncontested in their bids for re-election. No Democratic candidates filed for the District 27 race. And no Republicans are challenging Ellington, Gearheart and Shott for their party’s nomination.

There also will be no surprises May 13 in the Mercer County Board of Education race. Three candidates have filed for three seats on the school board. They include incumbent Gilbert “Gene” Bailey, District 3; incumbent Gregory S. Prudich, District 2; and J.B. Hurt, District 2.

In McDowell County, a single seat on the McDowell County Commission will be determined by voters on May 13. Incumbent A. Ray Bailey of Iaeger is being challenged by Cecil Dale Patterson of Caretta for the Democratic nomination. No Republican candidate filed in the McDowell County Commission race.

In the non-partisan McDowell County Board of Education contest, eight candidates are vying for five seats on the school board. The candidates include incumbents Jimmy Copolo, Lynda “Pip” Evans and Kevin A. Wade, and candidates Margaret Beavers, Julie Church, Brenda S. Goodson, Mike Mitchem and Georgia Muncy West.

In Monroe County, voters also will select a Democratic and Republican nominee on May 13 for a single seat on the Monroe County Commission. Incumbent William E. (Bill) Miller has filed for the Republican nomination. Terry A. Utterback is seeking the Democratic nomination.

Three seats on the Monroe County Board of Education are up for election, but only two incumbents have filed. They are Candy Sabol and Charles Sams.

According to Monroe County Clerk Donnie Evans, there will be a write-in period from now until March 25. If no one files as a write-in candidate the board of education will appoint someone after their July 1 meeting.

Glance said voters are to be reminded of a number of important dates. The last day to register to vote for new voters, or to change your voter registration status, is April 22. Early voting begins April 30.

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.