WILLIAMSON — Several races were decided at the local level in the 2020 general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.
In what was the closest local contest, Democrat incumbent Duke Jewell retained his prosecutor’s seat from Republican challenger Brock Mounts by a margin of only 12 votes, according to unofficial results.
With all election day precincts counted, it looked as if Mounts was going to de-seat Jewell, as he led the race with 4,014 votes to Jewell’s 3,840, good for a 174-vote advantage.
However, according to Deputy Clerk Angie Browning from the Mingo County Clerk’s office, more than 1,500 votes that were cast during the 10-day early voting period at the Mingo County Courthouse were not included in those totals due to an error created by the machine’s memory stick.
According to Browning, they had to rerun the ballots through the machine, and a representative from the secretary of state’s office watched as it was done.
After the 1,558 early votes were tabulated, Jewell surpassed Mounts to keep his position as Mingo County prosecutor as he jumped to 4,753 votes to Mounts’ 4,741 votes.
In the Mingo County Commissioner’s race, Democrat incumbent Greg “Hootie” Smith lost his seat to Republican challenger Gavin Smith of Gilbert by what many considered a surprisingly wide margin. Gavin Smith received 5,605 votes compared to 4,179 votes for Greg “Hootie” Smith.
In the race for the Mingo County Clerk, Democrat Larry “Yogi” Croaff defeated Republican Russell Deskins by more than a thousand votes. Croaff totaled 5,258 votes while Deskins amassed 4,162 votes.
Current Mingo County Chief Field Deputy Joe Smith ran away with the sheriff race as he defeated Republican challenger Ernest Sammons by more than 2,800 votes. Smith finished with 6,202 votes to Sammons’ 3,398 votes.
Mingo County Assessor Ramona Mahon and surveyor Jimmy Lee Webb ran unopposed in their races.
At the state level, Democrat Nathan Brown kept his seat in the House of Delegates representing District 20 (which covers (Mingo County and part of Logan County) as he defeated Republican Matthew Deskins 3,478 to 2,784.
In the race for the House of Delegate seat for District 21 (parts of Mingo, Wyoming and McDowell counties), Republican incumbent Mark Dean defeated Democrat Phyllis White for the third time. Dean totaled 4,284 votes compared to White’s 1,874 votes.
In the State Senate race for the 7th District (Boone, Lincoln, Logan, parts of Mingo and Wayne counties), Republican Rupie Phillips’ 20,484 votes easily bested Ralph Rodighiero’s 15,965 votes.
In the State Senate race for District 6 (Mercer, parts of McDowell, Mingo and Wayne counties), Republican incumbent Chandler Swope ran unopposed.
President Donald Trump was the popular choice for voters in Mingo County as Trump received 8,521 votes compared to President-Elect Joe Biden’s 1,385 votes.
Gov. Jim Justice defeated challenger Ben Salango to remain as governor, and he also won Mingo County by a wide margin. Justice totaled 7,436 votes from Mingo County while Salango picked up 2,011 votes.
The Mingo County Commission was scheduled to conduct a special public meeting on Monday of this week to canvass the votes from the Nov. 3 election. The results are unofficial until the canvass, in which the materials, equipment and results of an election are reviewed, corrected and officially recorded prior to the certification of that election, according to the secretary of state’s office.
The County Clerk and that office’s staff assist with the canvass. However, the Mingo County Clerk’s Office had to close to the public Nov. 5 and will remain closed through Nov. 15 due to a COVID-19 exposure within the office.
While the canvass was originally scheduled for Monday afternoon, Administrative Assistant Tina Abbott said the clerk and staff hoped to return to work on Nov. 16.
No other offices were closed, but as a precaution both the Mingo County Courthouse and the Annex Building closed at noon Friday to undergo cleaning and disinfecting. Both buildings were scheduled to reopen on Monday at 8:30 a.m.