PARKERSBURG - Voters in Doddridge, Ritchie and Pleasants counties were decisive in their choice for the circuit court judge. Democrat Tim Sweeney was the overwhelming pick over Republican Ira Haught.
Sweeney, a former prosecuting attorney for Pleasants County, outpaced Haught, a Harrisville attorney, in all three counties and by a nearly 2:1 margin.
Sweeney was appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to fill the judge's chair in December 2012 following Robert Holland's death. He'll serve a four-year term as judge.
Sweeney got a 2:1 margin over Haught in his home county (Ritchie) -2,549 to 1,163 - and was the only Democrat to win in Doddridge County Tuesday.
"I'm certainly pleased and grateful for support shown to me by the voters in Pleasants, Ritchie and Doddridge counties," Sweeney said.
Haught was contacted at his law office Wednesday and declined to comment.
By The Numbers
* Tim Sweeney - 1,385
* Ira Haught - 1,279
* Tim Sweeney - 2,107
* Ira Haught - 703
* Tim Sweeney - 2,549
* Ira Haught - 1,163
* Tim Sweeney - 6,041
* Ira Haught - 3,145
Ritchie has 7,146 registered voters, fewer than 2,000 of which are Democrats, according to the Ritchie County Clerk officials. There are 3,748 Republicans in Ritchie County. According to county election officials Republican voters casts 519 straight-ticket ballots in Ritchie, compared to 158 Democrats.
Of the county's 13 contested races, a majority of voters chose only four Democrats: Sen. Joe Manchin, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, auditor Glen Gainer and Sweeney.
In the Republican stronghold of Doddridge County Sweeney was the only Democrat to win any of the 15 contested races.
U.S. Senate challenger John Raese, who lost to incumbent Joe Manchin, won only three counties statewide Tuesday night, including Doddridge where he won by 344 votes. Sweeney edged Haught in Doddridge by 106 votes.
"I think it was a decisive win," Sweeney said. "I'm looking forward to serving as judge and working hard to get the job done."
Haught, while running for judge, has also been dealing with ethics complaints and was recently chastised by a circuit court judge who questioned his conduct.
Earlier this month, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Evans signed a permanent injunction order holding Haught in contempt for failure to comply with prior court orders and sanctions. The rebuke stems from a 2007 case in which Haught is accused of filing two lawsuits on behalf of a man who later testified he had no knowledge of any such suits and had never retained Haught as his attorney.
In his summary, Evans stated the defendants, including Haught engaged in a pattern of conduct that demonstrated a disregard for the authority of the court.
In addition to the sanctions issued by Evans, Haught is the subject of two 2010 ethics complaints filed with the Lawyer Disciplinary Board. He is accused of converting money for his own use and attempting to deceive investigators about his clients in another.
Haught is scheduled for a hearing in Charleston Dec. 5.