Randy Yohe Published

Candidate Primary Election Filing Deadline Saturday

A picture of voting booth tables with a display of the American flag.Adobe Stock

The May 14 primary election is where political parties choose their candidates for the general election in November. 

Marybeth Beller is an associate professor of Political Science at Marshall University, and an election analyst. She said it’s rare to see a complete overhaul of five of the six state constitutional offices. Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt is the only constitutional officer not running for a different office. Beller calls it the first of her three prongs of upheaval. 

Her second prong of upheaval? By Beller’s count as of Friday, there are 16 incumbents around the state who are seeking other offices, but she said only three of those incumbents have a safe seat, meaning that if they lose this election, they still get to hold on to their position. 

“All the other executive offices have people who are seeking other offices and only one of those is term limited,” Beller said. “Governor Justice, of course, is term limited. He’s running for the U.S. Senate. But then the Attorney General Patrick Morrissey is leaving his post to run for governor. Secretary of State Mac Warner is also seeking the governor’s office. Auditor J.B. McCuskey is seeking the Attorney General’s office and State Treasurer Riley Moore is running for the first congressional district.”

“Those are Brian Wood of Putnam County, the county clerk who is running for Secretary of State,” Beller said. “Tricia Jackson, who’s a Jefferson County Commissioner, is running for State Auditor. And then Sen. Mike Stuart, R-Kanawha, who was just elected to the state Senate is seeking the position of Attorney General. But aside from those three, all the other incumbents are leaving their seats to seek higher office. And I found that very exciting.” 

Beller said the third big prong of upheaval is what the state legislature might look like in 2025. 

“In the Senate 13 of the 17, who can run again are and so we’ve got four players who are leaving and three of those are really long-term legislators,” Beller said. “The first big position of note is Sen. Charles Trump, R- Morgan. Trump has chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee for quite a long time, and he’s seeking office for the Supreme Court of Appeals, so he’s not running again. Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, who is new to the Senate, but previously was in the House, going all the way back to 2009 has announced he is not seeking reelection. David Stover, the former Circuit Court Clerk of Wyoming County, has only been in the Senate for one term, but he has not filed yet to run again. And the fourth is Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne. Now, we still have two days, and I can’t find evidence, that he’s announced that he’s not running, but he hasn’t yet filed. Plymale has been in the Senate since 1992. If he decides not to file, we will see some definite, very new faces unless some old ones come back next session. So that’s really interesting to me.”

Beller said in the House of Delegates, almost one fifth of the house incumbents have not filed for reelection. 

“Seventeen out of the 100 is the number that I’ve counted,” Beller said. “As I say these things could change. But we were looking at the long term House members that are definitely not running. Del.  Steve Westfall, R-Jackson, who’s been in the House for a very long time, is now leaving to run for Jackson County Commission. And Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, who has been in the House for a very long time is not running for reelection. House Majority Leader Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, who has been in the House for a long time is leaving to run for State Auditor. And Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, is leaving to run for the Senate seat in District 16 against an incumbent, Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson. So that’s going to be an exciting election.”

Information pertaining to the Primary Election can be found at GoVoteWV.com