Candidate Update: Commission Race Gets Crowded; Legislature and BOE also on Ballot

By Local News | January 22, 2018 from Internal Affairs
An off-year election doesn't usually garner as much interest as a presidential election does.  But the key word in that statement is "usually".
The races for United States Senate and the 1st Congressional District that represents Harrison County are already heating up.  United States Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, and Congressman David McKinley are both seeking re-election.  Both have substantial opposition.
In Harrison County, local and state positions are not getting as much attention.  
On May 8th, Harrison County voters will elect a candidate for magistrate to fill the unexpired term of Donnie Kopp who retired in December.  Magistrates are now elected in non-partisan races much like school board members.  Whoever is elected in the May Primary will take office within two weeks of the election.
To date, former Harrison County Deputy Sheriff Matt Osbourn is the only candidate to file for magistrate. Osbourn was appointed to temporarily fill Kopp's unexpired term.
According to the WV Secretary of State's website, current school board members Kristin Colombo Messenger of Clarksburg, Michael Daugherty of Lost Creek and Frank Devono of Bridgeport have all filed for re-election to the non-partisan Board of Education.  On May 8th, Harrison County voters will elect three (3) members to the five member school board.
Harrison County Commissioner Bernie Fazzini has indicated that he will not seek re-election to a third term on the Commission.  As of Friday, former Harrison County Delegates Ron Fragale and Patsy Trecost have filed to seek the Democrat Party nomination to replace Fazzini.  No Republican candidates have yet filed.
In the race for the House of Delegates, current Delegates Danny Hamrick and Ben Queen (both Republicans) and Richard Iaquinta (a Democrat) have all three filed for re-election.  Rob Garcia of Bridgeport has filed to run as a Democrat. Harrison County is part of House District 48 which also includes one precinct in Taylor County. Voters will elect four (4) to the House of Delegates.
Democrat Delegate Tim Miley, a former Speaker of the House and the current Minority Leader, has yet to file for re-election.  Politicos throughout the county have suggested that Miley has been encouraged to run for State Senate or for the 1st District congressional position held by David McKinley.  It is very unlikely that the Democrats will take back control of the House of Delegates in the 2018 election.  Currently, there are 64 Republicans in the 100-member House.
Miley's interest may be the reason why State Senator Mike Romano has not yet filed for re-election.  Romano's seat is up this year.  He was first elected in 2014, the year the Republican Party took over control of the WV State Senate -- for the first time in 83 years.
Miley and Romano, both Democrats and both trial lawyers with offices in Clarksburg, used to be law partners.  It is very unlikely that they would run against each other.
Waymond Cork, II of Salem has filed as a Republican candidate for the Romano's 12th Senatorial District position.
In the race for 1st District Congress, current Congressman David McKinley is seeking re-election.  Wheeling businessman Ralph Baxter and Kendra Fershee of Morgantown have both filed for the Democrat nomination and a chance to take on McKinley in the fall. Miley has been a member of the House of Delegates for more than a decade so his name recognition would make him a formidable candidate against Baxter and Fershee.
Former governor and current U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has indicated that he will seek re-election to another 6-year term.  Currently 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins and current WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are just two of the Republicans seeking an opportunity to face Manchin in the November General Election.  Martinsburg businessman Tom Willis  has filed and retired coal executive Don Blankenship has said that he will  also participate in the May Primary Election to represent the Repubican Party against Manchin.
The race for U.S. Senate to either re-elect or to defeat Manchin in the November General Election will be the most expensive political race in West Virginia history.  Manchin himself has estimated that more than $50 million could be spent by those for and against him.
Filing to run for public office began on January 8th.  It will run until midnight on Saturday, January 27th.
Those interested in running for any of the positions mentioned here or to be a member of State, District or County level political executive committees can learn more about the filing by calling Harrison County Clerk Susan's Thomas' office or the WV Secretary of State's Office at (304) 558-6000 or online at
Candidate filing can be done in person or mailed in if postmarked before midnight on January 27th. The Secretary of State's Office located at 200 West Main Street in downtown Clarksburg will be open until midnight this coming Saturday to accommodate in-person candidate registration.

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