The Halloween Blue Moon was not the blessing blue voters had hoped for. The rare celestial occurrence, instead, left Democrats with the blues in Summers County last week. A long-awaited election day, all ballots counted, Republicans won by a landslide in all races. The only blue in elective offices were uncontested races. In every contested race the county went totally red in all 14 precincts. Ballots were cast by only 60% of Summers’ registered voters. Of the 9,348 eligible voters County Clerk Mary Beth Merritt documented only 5,679 turned out to cast ballots. As final counts were announced at the courthouse last Tuesday night it was apparent voting consistently indicated straight ticket voting, generally red 2 to 1.
Jack David Woodrum easily won a seat in the State Senate, Roy Cooper and Jeffrey Pack will return to the State House of Delegates, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Representative Carol Miller in the U.S. House head back to D.C., Mike Gore took a seat on the Summers Board of Commissioners and Justin Faris will be sworn in as sheriff.
“Summers County better get ready, there’s a new sheriff in town and things are going to change,” Faris exclaimed as he reacted to news of his victory.
Woodrum will continue to serve on the County Board of Commissioners until December 31. Gore will join the commission on January 1, and a process will begin to replace Woodrum on the 3-person county board.
Gore reacted to the news of his election victory with “I was surprised.” Yet, he said, his candidacy “felt good the last month or so. Facebook blew up and it’s time to hit the ground running.”
Gore said he wants to work closely with the city of Hinton on mutual priorities: higher education, vocational education and tourism, among others. Commission Chairman Woodrum said he feels good about his future position at the state level. “It was a good night for the Republican party across the state. We are all trying to accomplish the same things in West Virginia and we agree more than we disagree on the great things we’re going to do for the community,” Woodrum said. “Among my top priorities are redistricting based on the census and expanding broadband across the state. We have the money to do it,” he added, “because the governor has announced a one-billion-dollar infrastructure investment over 3 years.”
A few faces at the county level will remain the same: Republican Prosecuting Attorney Kristin R. Cook, and Democrats Assessor Greg Vandall and Surveyor Jeffery Chambers.