Few Surprises in Hardy County Primary

By Jean A. Flanagan

Moorefield Examiner

In the wake of an international pandemic, the postponed 2020 Primary Election garnered few surprises in Hardy County. 

It was no surprise that only 40 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. Voter turnout is notoriously low in primary elections.

It was no surprise that Donald J. Trump received the most votes (1,474) for the Republican candidate for president. His next closest rival, Joe Walsh (not the rock star) received 23 votes.

It was no surprise that Joseph Biden received the most votes (793) for the Democratic candidate for president. All of the other candidates on the ballot have dropped out of the race. The next closest candidate, David Lee Rice received 150 votes.

It was no surprise that Shelley Moore Capito would win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. She received 80 percent of the vote in Hardy County and 83.5 percent of the vote statewide.

The Democratic candidates were much closer at least in Hardy County. Paula Jean Swearengin received 451 votes, Richard Ojeda II received 430 votes and Richie Robb received 413 votes.

Statewide, Swearengin came out on top with 37.9 percent of the vote. Ojeda was a close second with 33 percent. Robb received 29 percent.

It was no surprise that Jim Justice would receive the Republican nomination for Governor. He received 57 percent (871) of the votes in Hardy County and 63 percent (127,929) statewide.

The Democratic nomination was too close to call in Hardy County, as of press time. Ben Salango received 509 votes and Stephen Smith received 508 votes. However, statewide, Salango received 39 percent of the votes and Smith came in at 33 percent. 

It was no surprise that Kent Leonhardt would receive the Republican nomination for Commissioner of Agriculture. 

The Democratic nomination went to  Bob Beach, who received 12 percent of the vote in Hardy County, but 80 percent statewide. 

Hardy County native and former Hardy County Commissioner William “JR” Keplinger carried his home county with 1,105 votes, but only received 25 percent of the vote statewide. 

The only really close race, which has yet to be finalized, is that of Democratic nomination for West Virginia Attorney General.

As votes were being tallied Wednesday morning, Pendleton County native and former House of Delegates Representative Isaac Sponaugle was only 917 votes ahead of challenger Sam Petsonk. The winner will face off with incumbent Patrick Morrisey in November.

Democrat Jarod Shockey will compete against Republican and current Hardy County Sheriff Bryan Ward for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates representing the 55th District. Shockey received 1,004 votes in Hardy County and 456 in Pendleton County. Bradley “BJ” Rinard’s received 508 votes in Hardy County and 227 in Pendleton. 

Local Election Results

The Hardy County School Board will welcome a new member in July. Janet Clayton Rose with 1,676 votes bested incumbent Jerry Yates with 1,485 votes. Incumbent Nancy Hahn will be sworn in for a fourth term. 

Republican Steven Schetrom will run against Democrat Greg Greenwalt for a seat on the Hardy County Commission. Schetrom received 56 percent of the vote, while challenger Tyler Bradfield received 43 percent. 

For a third time, the ballot question to enact a levy to pay for emergency ambulance service in Hardy County was defeated. There were 1,982 (61 percent) votes against the levy and 1,224 (38 percent) for the levy.

Ed. Note: These numbers are unofficial results. For official results, see the 6/17/20 edition of the Examiner.