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WILLIAMSON — The 2020 primary election has come and gone in Mingo County as winners have been decided in the four contested races at the county level.

Four candidates were vying for the Democratic nomination for the office of Sheriff in Mingo County, and current Chief Field Deputy Joe Smith was the top vote-getter as he totaled 56.66% of the vote. Smith landed 2,158 votes while Earl Spence brought in 823 votes, Dave Stratton garnered 457 and Jeff Cline picked up 371.

Smith advances to November’s general election, where he will face Republican Ernest Sammons, who ran unopposed. Sammons amassed 917 votes on the Republican ticket.

Two candidates were on the Democratic ballot for the open County Commission seat, and incumbent Greg “Hootie” Smith won the nomination and will look to retain his seat in the general election as he totaled 2,253 votes to Johnny Nick Hager’s 1,452 votes.

Smith will face Republican Gavin Smith, who totaled 1,091 votes and ran unopposed.

In the nonpartisan Board of Education Race, two seats were open as newcomer Machelle McCormick of the Williamson District was the top vote-getter picking up 2,143 votes while current BOE President Sabrina Grace of the Tug-Hardee District will retain her seat as she came in second with 2,037 votes.

Robbie Adams of the Lee District acquired 1,627 votes while Rita Adams Hatfield, also of the Lee District, amassed 1,432 votes.

McCormick will begin serving on July 1 as she will replace the seat left vacant by Robert “Hank” Starr, who did not seek re-election. Other current members are James Ed Baisden of Harvey District, Tom Slone of the Tug-Hardee District and John Preece of the Lee District.

In the only contested Magistrate race for Division 3, incumbent Jim Harvey defeated challenger Billy Sexton as he totaled 67% of the vote. Harvey landed 3,253 votes while Sexton totaled 1,570.

The other two Magistrate seats were also open in this election as incumbents Donald Sansom and David Justice both ran unopposed in their respective divisions.

Sansom was the top vote-getter totaling 4,365 votes while Justice picked up 4,247. The Magistrate races have been nonpartisan since 2016.

In the State Senate race for District 6, incumbent Chandler Swope won the Republican nomination over Wesley Blankenship as he totaled 6,475 votes to Blankenship’s 2,474.

In the race for the office of the County Clerk, Democrat Larry “Yogi” Croaff ran unopposed and totaled 2,838 votes while Republican Russell Deskins also ran unopposed and amassed 1,001 votes. They will square off in the general election.

Incumbent Jonathon “Duke” Jewell ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket in the race for prosecuting attorney and totaled 2,789 votes, and he will face Republican Brock Mounts, who also ran unopposed and totaled 973 votes.

Incumbent Ramona Mahon ran unopposed in the race for the Assessor’s office and totaled 2,823 votes. No Republicans ran for the Assessor’s position in the Primary.

Jimmy Lee Webb also ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination of County Surveyor and totaled 2,411 votes.

In the House of Delegate race for the 20th District, incumbent Nathan Brown totaled 1,981 votes on the Democratic ticket while Matthew Deskins picked up 592 votes on the Republican ticket. They will square off in November.

In the Delegate race for the 21st District, incumbent Mark Dean ran unopposed on the Republican ticket and totaled 612 votes while Phyllis White also ran unopposed on the Democratic ticket and acquired 1,015 votes.

The vote totals were tabulated after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. in the basement of the Mingo County Courthouse. These are unofficial totals. Official totals will be released after a canvass of votes.

According to numbers provided by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website, only 5,598 ballots were cast in Mingo County out of 19,922 registered voters, which is only a 28.1% turnout

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