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WILLIAMSON — Nearly a month after it was originally scheduled to be held, the 2020 primary election is set for Tuesday in West Virginia.

Voters in Mingo County have several contested races to decide, but none more contested than the race for the office of sheriff.

Five candidates are seeking to be the next sheriff in Mingo County, including four on the Democratic ticket. Current Chief Deputy Joe Smith of Naugatuck, Earl Spence of Delbarton, Jeff Cline of Baisden and Dave Stratton of Delbarton are seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary election.

Ernest Sammons of Gilbert is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Democratic incumbent Greg “Hootie” Smith of the Mingo County Commission is being challenged by Johnny Nick Hager of Dingess. Republican candidate Gavin Smith of Gilbert is unopposed in his party’s primary.

The Board of Education is a nonpartisan body elected by voters countywide. Those currently on the board and not up for re-election include James Ed Baisden, Kermit-Harvey District; Tom Slone, Tug-Hardee District; and John W. Preece, Lee District.

There are two open seats in the 2020 election. Sabrina Grace of Williamson is running for re-election in the Tug-Hardee District, Machelle McCormick of Williamson is running to represent the Williamson district, and Robbie Adams and Rita Adams Hatfield, both of Delbarton, are running to represent the Lee District. Robert Hank Starr’s seat is also open, but he is not seeking re-election.

The top votegetters win in a school board election, as long as no more than two are in the same district. In this election, the candidates in the Lee District run that risk.

All three of the nonpartisan magistrate seats in the county are open. Incumbents Donald Sansom of Matewan in Division 1 and David Justice of Delbarton in Division 2 both filed for re-election and are running unopposed.

Incumbent Jim Harvey of Chattaroy is also running for re-election in Division 3 and will face Billy Sexton of Williamson in the primary election.

Current Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan “Duke” Jewell is seeking re-election on the Democratic ticket while Republican Brock Mounts of Gilbert also filed. They will face off in the general election.

The seat for Mingo County clerk is also open in the 2020 election. Yogi Croaff of Edgarton is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket while Russell Deskins of Williamson is running unopposed on the Republican ticket. This is for an unexpired term to fill the vacancy of former Clerk “Big” Jim Hatfield, who resigned in 2018 for health reasons. Judy Harvey has been serving as clerk since his resignation.

Incumbent Democrat Ramona Mahon of Delbarton filed for re-election as Mingo County assessor and is running unopposed, as is Democrat Jimmy Lee Webb of Williamson, who is seeking re-election as surveyor for the county.

Mike Adkins of Delbarton is also running unopposed for the role of Mingo County Conservation District Supervisor.

For the State Senate’s District 6 race (which covers Mercer, parts of McDowell, Mingo and Wayne counties), Republican candidate Chandler Swope is seeking re-election. His challenger is Republican Wesley Blankenship of Baisden.

In the State Senate’s District 7 race (which covers Boone, Lincoln, Logan, parts of Mingo and Wayne counties), Delegate Ralph Rodighiero of Logan is the lone candidate to file on the Democratic ticket while Rupie Phillips of Lorado will be running on the Republican ticket. They will meet in the general election and are looking to fill the seat left open by Paul Hardesty of Logan.

For the State House seats, incumbent Nathan Brown of Williamson is seeking re-election in District 20 (Mingo and part of Logan counties) and is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket while Matthew Deskins of Breeden is running unopposed for the Republican nomination. They will face off in the general election.

In District 21 of the House (parts of Mingo, Wyoming and McDowell counties), incumbent Mark Dean of Verner is seeking re-election and is running unopposed for the Republican nomination while Phyllis White of Gilbert is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

All regular polling places will be open and ready for voters to vote in person, according to the Mingo County Clerk’s office.

Gloves and masks will be provided for poll workers and for voters, and the number of voters allowed inside the precinct will most likely be limited, according to the social distancing restrictions on that date.

Several state and local candidates have completed profiles on our website. Go to Click News and then Election Candidates.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at