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Ohio County candidates face off to lead W.Va. GOP

CHARLESTON – Two Ohio County Republicans are vying for the chairmanship of the West Virginia GOP.

Ohio County Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Elgine McArdle announced Monday morning she and Putnam County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Tony Hodge are running as co-chairs of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee.

Dolph Santorine, a member of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee representing the 1st Senatorial District, has also announced his intention to seek the state party chairmanship. Lizabeth Gregg-Badt, chairwoman of the Hancock County Republican Executive Committee, is running with Santorine as co-chair.

Newly elected members of the WVREC will meet in Charleston Saturday, July 30, to select new state party leadership for the next four years. Chairman Mark Harris, elected in March 2021 to serve the remainder of former chair Melody Potter’s term, will decline to see a full four-year term.

Santorine and McArdle are locked in a legal battle after McArdle refused to seat Santorine after he won election to the Ohio County Republican Executive Committee in May. Santorine sought election to the county party committee for the 2nd Magisterial District. Due to an error by the county, he was placed in the 1st District.

Ohio County officials acknowledged their error and certified the 2nd District election for Santorine, but the county party determined that it could not seat him for that district and encouraged him to submit his name for an appointment for an available seat for the 1st District. Santorine refused and filed suit in Ohio County Circuit Court, asking the court to mandate that the county party committee seat him.

Santorine is a Wheeling-based businessman, political organizer and previous candidate for the House of Delegates.

McArdle, a Wheeling-based attorney, has served on the WVREC since 2005 and is a past chair of the REC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee. She also has been a delegate to the Republican National Convention, both as a 2008 delegate and an alternate delegate in 2020.

Read more in Tuesday’s edition of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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