State Senate endorsements
It’s time for West Virginians to choose half the membership in the State Senate and all 100 House of Delegates members. Here, we recommend candidates for the 17 Senate seats.
In the Northern Panhandle’s First Senate District, we endorse the renomination of Senator Ryan Weld. We like his primary opponent but this is another GOP Primary where the majority party appears to have a death wish.
Weld is a staunch conservative but apparently not far right enough to earn the support of opponent Jack Newbrough voters.
Newbrough has the support of the WV Civil Defense League, which is enough to lose our support. Weld, the Senate majority whip, can defeat Democrat challenger, Delegate Randy Swartzmiller in November. If Republicans nominate Newbrough, we fear the seat will turn blue.
Thus, we urge a vote for Weld.
In District 2, we endorse incumbent Republican Mike Maroney. In 3, incumbent Republican Donna Boley is revered and unopposed in the primary. She will deserve another term against the lone Democrat, Robin Wolfe, in the fall.
District 4 is a Republican circle firing squad. Delegate Jim Butler is leaving the House, trying to unseat Senate President Mitch Carmichael. The third candidate, Amy Nicole Grady, has stayed out of the “who’s most conservative” fray. We like her intelligent, level-headed pronouncements. We urge GOP voters to vote for Grady as having the best chance of holding the seat Republican against Democrat Bruce Ashworth in November — or whenever Governor Jim Justice orders the general election to be held.
Either Republican would suit us in District 5 but we prefer Glendon Watts. He has the best chance of ousting longtime Democrat incumbent Bob Plymale.
There are no contests in Districts 6, 7 and 8.
We endorse incumbent Republican Sue Cline in 9. In 10, former Democrat Senator William Laird will meet either David Hill or Jack Woodrum. They’re all vying for the seat held by Republican Kenny Mann, who is retiring. We endorse Woodrum.
District 11 is another potential Republican disaster. Incumbent J.R. Pitsenbarger is in a battle with former Senator Robert Karnes.
Pitsenbarger was appointed by Justice to replace Greg Boro, who resigned. Karnes is a controversial character who, like Morgan County Commissioner Ken Reed, has trouble figuring out where he lives.
Karnes voted in Florida which should have made him ineligible for the seat he previously held but voters took care of that.
In any event, Democrat Denise Campbell, a former Delegate, is a formidable opponent. She could possibly beat either Republican in the fall and give Democrats another gain.
But Karnes is most vulnerable. Therefore, we recommend Pitsenbarger as the best choice for the GOP.
Incumbent Democrat Doug Facemire is an institution in District 12 but he won a tight re-election battle by little more than 100 votes in this conservative district four years ago. Two candidates have filed against him on the Republican side. We recommend Patrick Martin over Derrick Love although either would make a suitable senator.
In District 13, two good Republicans are seeking to meet Delegate Mike Caputo, the Democrat. One of the three will replace retiring Senator Roman Prezioso.
Caputo has the weight of a controversial dust-up where he was accused of kicking in the door of the House chamber. He was acquitted by a Kanawha County judge after pleading “legislative immunity.”
Both Republicans, minister Rebecca Polis and term limit advocate John Provins, say they will not raise the altercation against Caputo. But it’s safe to say voters can’t forget.
So this is a Democrat seat that could go Republican. We recommend Polis to GOP voters.
Districts 14 and 16 offer no primary competition.
Powerful Republican Senate leader Craig Blair is opposed for re-nomination in 15. His opponent is Kenneth “can’t we all.just get along?” Mattson. Blair is the obvious choice.
Two Kanawha County delegates will likely square off this fall for the post now held by Democrat Corey Palumbo in District 17. Republican Eric Nelson is assured of getting to the fall, with no primary opponent.
Democrat Delegate Andrew Robinson meets John Hague in the primary. Robinson is the clear choice on that side.
These, then, are our primary picks. We’ll revisit all 17 races in November.