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Statewide candidates file on first day

CHARLESTON — More than 90 candidates filed paperwork to run for statewide and legislative offices on the first day of the candidate filing period Monday.

The candidate filing period to be placed on the ballots for the Tuesday, May 12 Democratic and Republican primaries and the Tuesday, Nov. 3 general election began at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Monday’s filing included the first of 12 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S president: Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind.

In Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll released Jan. 10, Buttigieg ranked third with 16% behind U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 17% and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, with 20%. The winner of the Democratic primary could likely face President Donald Trump in November.

Richard Ojeda, a retired U.S. Army officer, a former Democratic state senator from Logan County, and a failed candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, filed Monday for U.S. Senate. If he wins the primary, he could face U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R.W.Va.

Ojeda lost the 3rd Congressional district race to Republican Carol Miller, a former member of the House of Delegates representing Cabell County. Last year, Ojeda resigned his state Senate seat to file for the Democratic primary for president, but dropped out several weeks later. Challenging Miller in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District is Russell Siegel from Lewisburg.

Another challenger in the Democratic primary for U.S Senate is Paula Jean Swearengin. She challenged U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in 2018, losing 70% to 30%.

Turning to candidates for seats on the Board of Public Works, Republicans Mike Folk and Woody Thrasher filed to challenge Gov. Jim Justice in the May primary. Folk is a former member of the House of Delegates representing part of Berkeley County. He lost an election in 2018 to challenge state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, losing 52% to 48%.

Thrasher, a businessman and former secretary of the Department of Commerce in the Justice administration, switched his party registration from Democrat to Republican to challenge Justice.

Former Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant was the first candidate to file with the Secretary of State’s Office when the office opened Monday morning. She is running for the seat she held for two terms starting in 2009, a seat she lost 49% to 48% against current Secretary of State Mac Warner, a Republican, in 2016. Tennant is also a former candidate in a special election for governor in 2011 and a former candidate for U.S. Senate, losing to Capito in 2014.

Sam Petsonk, a Beckley-area attorney, filed to challenge Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Petsonk will face a Democratic primary race against Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, who also filed Monday. Sponaugle announced last month his intentions to seek the Attorney General seat.

For commissioner of agriculture, Dave Miller of Tunnelton filed as a Democratic candidate to challenge Republican Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. A retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and former state senator from Monongalia County, Leonhardt won election as the state’s top farmer in 2016.

State Treasurer John Perdue, a Democrat from Boone County, filed Monday to seek a seventh term as the state’s top banker.

For the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, Justice John Hutchison filed to complete the unexpired term of former justice Allen Loughry. Gov. Justice appointed Hutchison, a former Raleigh County circuit court judge, to take Loughry’s place until a special election this year.

Also running for state Supreme Court is Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit. She lost a race for state Supreme Court in 2018, losing to chief Justice Tim Armstead 26% to 22%. Richard Neely, a Charleston-area attorney and former two-term justice of the state Supreme Court from 1972 to 1995, has also filed to run. There is no primary for judicial races, with the winners being chosen by voters in May and taking office in January 2021.

The following candidates must file with the Secretary of State’s Office: U.S. President; U.S. Senate and House of Representatives; Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; State Auditor; State Treasurer; Commissioner of Agriculture; state Supreme Court Justice; state Senate and House of Delegates; Circuit Court Judge; and the Greater Huntington Park Board. All other candidates for office must file with their local county clerk’s office.

Candidates can file in-person at the Secretary of State’s Office in the Capitol in Charleston, the Secretary of State’s business hubs in Clarksburg and Martinsburg during business hours during the week and during select Saturday hours. Candidates can also mail in their certificates of candidacy as long as they are postmarked by Saturday, Jan. 25.

More information on filing locations and hours can be found at wvsos.gov.

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