By RACHEL C. DOVE
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following percentages and totals in this article were all as of presstime and from unofficial results.)
WILLIAMSON - The day that has been anxiously awaited and anticipated by candidates and their supporters alike in Mingo County has come and gone, and while some are celebrating their victories, others are accepting their losses.
A total of 17,734 Mingo County Democrats cast their votes in the 2012 Primary, along with 1,829 Republicans and 1,929 Non-Partisan.
In the 6th State Senatorial District, Mark Wills defeated challenger Mike Mitchem by a total of 6,547 to 5,809 votes. Wills will face Republican Bill Cole in November.
In the 7th State Senatorial District, Art Kirkendoll won by a landslide as he defeated his opponent Sammy Dalton. The current serving Senator walking away with 9.990 votes compared to Dalton’s 4,443.
In the 2oth House of Delegate District, Incumbent Justin Marcum defeated his challengers Nathan Brown and Marvin Vernatter. Marcum finished the race with 2,648, Brown received 1,611 and Vernatter gathered 266. Marcum will be challenged for his house seat in the fall by Republican candidate Primary winner Mike Baisden, who defeated Phil Amick and Diane Shafer.
In the 21st House of Delegate District, incumbent Harry Keith White gathered a whopping 84.84 percent of the vote, gathering 2,351 votes against his challenger James Lusk who had 420. Finance Chairman White will square off against Republican challenger Roger Stacy in the General Election.
In the heated race for the Mingo County Commission seat, incumbent David Baisden defeated current Sheriff Lonnie Hannah by a vote of 3,857 to 3,013, to retain his position for another four years.
Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney C. Michael Sparks was victorious over Attorneys Charles “Butch” West and Robert Carlton who were vying for the position. Sparks garnered 3,753 votes, West gathered 1,880 and Carlton finished third with 1,010.
The Mingo County Sheriff’s race was a close one, as the lead remained a mere 200 or less votes apart most of the evening, until the final precincts were tabulated. Former Magistrate Eugene Crum defeated Chief Field Deputy James Smith by a total of 3,621 to 3,054. Don Stevens finished third with a count of 228. Many bystanders in the courthouse commented that the sheriff’s race was a “class act”, and praised the candidates for running a non-slanderous race.
Mingo County Assessor Ramona Mahon was unopposed for her position, and received a total of 5,263 votes.
In the magistrate’s race, the top three of the four candidates will fill the slots, and all three incumbents were successful in their attempts to return to office. Pamela Newsome was the top vote getter with 4,591, Dee Sidebottom finished a close second with a total of 4,19, followed by Dallas Toler with 3,541. Challenger Jim Harvey had nothing to be ashamed of as he gathered 2,442 votes to finish fourth in the race.
Jimmy Lee Webb, the sole candidate for Surveyor finished the night with 4,402 votes.
An upset occurred in the Mingo County Board of Education race, as newcomer Dave Farley finished second in the race with 2,170 votes to claim on of the three seats up for grabs. The top winner in the board race was current President William “Bill” Duty” with 2,781 and third place went to recently appointed member Orville Messer who claimed 1,708 votes. Current member Jacqueline Branch finished fifth with a total of 1,542, ending her stent with the Board of Education.
The winning candidates gathered in the basement of the courthouse for a short celebration after the announcement of the winners, and there were handshakes, hugs and high-fives all around.
“I’m very thankful, extremely honored and very humbled that the citizens of Mingo County entrusted me to serve as their commissioner for another four years,” stated David Baisden. “I want to thank all my supporters from the bottom of my heart.”
Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks was overcome with emotion, and stated he was filled with joy and was “profoundly blessed” to have the opportunity to continue serving Mingo County as their prosecutor.
“We have accomplished a lot, but our work is far from over. Thank you for allowing me to continue on this journey,” commented Sparks.
“This is the hardest I’ve ever worked at a campaign in my life,” said Eugene Crum. “I want to thank everyone for believing in me, and trusting me to serve as your sheriff.”
“I want to take a moment and say how much I respect my opponent, James Smith. He’s a fine man, and a good officer. We ran a good, clean race against each other, and I think that speaks volumes for both of us. Don is also a good man, I was lucky to have fine gentlemen as challengers,” stated Smith.
Dallas Toler, who was nominated to fill the magistrates vacancy left when Crum resigned to seek the office of sheriff was all smiles following the election, and when asked what he wanted to say to the public who gave him their votes, simply stated “Thank You, Thank You, and Thank You”!
More election coverage and quotes from the winners and those who weren’t fortunate enough to defeat their challengers will be featured in upcoming editions of the Daily News.