Dave Mistich Published

Live Blog: 2016 West Virginia Primary

Updated Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:39 a.m.

Former state delegate Mark Hunt has edged out lawyer and veteran  Cory Simpson, 29-26 percent, to take on Rep. Alex Mooney in the fall.

Meanwhile, a man who received national attention for being beaten at a picnic right before the election has won his race. Richard Ojeda defeated incumbent Art Kirkendoll for the Logan County state senate seat.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 11:39 p.m.

Senate President Bill Cole is looking ahead to November, after facing on opposition in the GOP primary for governor.

In a speech to supporters, Cole emphasized that he had only spent one term in the state Senate and is not a career politician — he’s a businessman.

He said that the November election is a choice. 

“A choice between the good old boys in Charleston who have held our state back for years and years or a chance for the people to have a say in their government. To modernize and reform it by cutting red tape eliminating outdated regulation and reforming our tax code so that we can truly compete with other states for those critically, critically needed jobs.” 

Cole has talked a lot about the importance of the coal industry and on Tuesday he also stressed the importance of diversification. Cole says changing policies will help make the state “Open for business.” 

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 11:03 p.m.

Jim Justice delivered a victory speech at The Greenbrier after winning the Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday. A billionaire businessman owning mining operations in various states, Justice promised to only take a $1 salary as governor, as he now prepares his campaign to face off against unopposed Republican candidate and current state Senate President Bill Cole.

While giving his speech, Justice also took shots at the current Republican-lead legislature. “We spent all kinds of time on raw milk. Are you kidding me?!” he said. 

Justice also promised to bring back jobs to West Virginia, stating, “Get ready. I’ll take you on a rocket ship ride to jobs.”

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:53 p.m.

Beth Walker’s surprisingly easy Supreme Court win, Jim Justice’s big victory, and a political upset after a beating goes viral nationwide — see what we’ve learned from this fascinating primary season.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:25 p.m.

While Democratic gubernatorial winner Jim Justice wrapped up his speech at The Greenbrier, his two opponents–the departing Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin–offered statements via email. Kessler and Goodwin offered very different perspectives in their messages after their shared loss.

“It has been a great run,” said Kessler. “I have enjoyed meeting people around the state and I thank them for opening their hearts and homes to me. It’s been an honor serving the people of my district and all West Virginians through my work in the West Virginia Senate.”

Kessler added, “Our focus now needs to be on diversifying West Virginia’s economy. I look forward to being involved in the policy discussions on the future of West Virginia.”

As for Goodwin, his message was a bit more grim:

“When we started this four months ago, I could have never imagined the level of support and excitement this effort would generate,” Goodwin said. “This campaign was never about me; it was always about the future of West Virginia as a state where my children, your children and our grandchildren will be able to and want to stay.”
“People have lost faith—faith in themselves, faith in West Virginia, faith that we can do something more and be something more than we have been before,” Goodwin added later in his statement. “Well I haven’t lost that faith. I will continue to stand along side you and work to make this a better state; not for the next election; but the next generation.”


Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:05 p.m.

The Associated Press has called the Democratic gubernatorial primary in favor of Jim Justice. He is now about to give a victory speech following introductions from former WVU football coach Don Nehlen, former Marshall University coach Bob Pruett and former Governor Gaston Caperton.  

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 9:45 p.m.

Right now, we’re watching two tight races: the Democratic race for the U.S. House of Representative’s 2nd District and the Democratic primary in the state Senate’s 7th District.

  • As of right now, Cory Simpson is edging out Mark Hunt by just 7 votes.
  • In the state Senate’s 7th District, incumbent Art Kirkendoll is leading Richard Ojeda–who was brutally beaten on Sunday–by 40 votes.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 9:23 p.m.

Billionaire businessman Jim Justice has pulled away with a commanding lead in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, garnering nearly half of votes counted thus far. Jeff Kessler and Booth Goodwin have split the remainder of the vote virtually down the middle, with 26 percent and 24 percent, respectively.   

Bernie Sanders continues to widen his margin over Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary, with Sanders pulling 49 percent of votes counted so far. The Associated Press has called the race in favor of Sanders.  


Most incumbent state Legislators appear to be beating their primary challengers. House Speaker Tim Armstead is way ahead of two challengers, one supported by unions. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael is leading almost 2-1 against a union-backed Republican who also received the backing of the conservative West Virginia Family Policy Council, which opposed Carmichael for his stand on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

But one incumbent with a very close primary is state Senator Art Kirkendoll of Logan County. He’s ahead 52-48 percent against Richard Ojeda, who received national attention for being severely beaten at a picnic over the weekend. Ojeda says he believes is it political, Kirkendoll denies any involvement.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 9:00 p.m.

With about 10 percent of precinct reporting in the presidential primaries:

  • Trump is way ahead with 71 percent
  • Sanders 49, Clinton 42

In the Democratic gubernatorial race, the Associated Press is reporting Jim Justice with 48 percent of votes counted thus far, and Jeff Kessler and Booth Goodwin each have 26 percent.

As of now, the Democratic primary for 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House is too close to call.

Beth Walker has a big lead over incumbent Brent Benjamin and the three other candidates in the race for the seat on the bench of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 8:45 p.m.

Here’s an interactive map of statewide presidential results:


They show Bernie Sanders taking the lead, 48-42 percent.

Check out all the West Virginia House of Delegates results here:


Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 8:43 p.m.

Still SUPER early, but Clinton keeping it close with 3 percent in:

Hillary Clinton 12,906 votes 45.8%
Bernie Sanders 12,759 votes 45.3%

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.

VERY early results show mostly what you’d expect – Trump up big, for example. Clinton is keeping it close to Sanders so far.

But if this keeps up, it will be a VERY good night for Supreme Court candidate Beth Walker, with 1 percent of precincts:

Beth Walker 44.3%

Darrell McGraw  21.7%

William Wooton  19.9%

Brent Benjamin (i)  11.2%

Wayne King  2.9%

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 8:08 p.m.

As results come in on the Democratic Presidential primary races, you can find results on an interactive map from the Associated Press.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 7:48 p.m.

With NBC projecting a Sanders win in West Virginia, check out this Ashton Marra interview with Sanders about his time here:

“It’s a state of tough people, people who are fighting back against difficult odds today,” Sanders said.

“I do believe that the people of West Virginia want a government that represents all of us and not just the wealthy campaign contributors or just the 1 percent.”

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 7:40 p.m.

NBC News is projecting Bernie Sanders as the winner of the Democratic presidential primary.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Polls are closed in West Virginia. CNN called Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders an “early leader” but has not called the race for him yet.

The Associated Press has called the Republican presidential primary in favor of Donald Trump.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

West Virginia voters are extremely worried about the economy, and a majority believe free trade kills jobs, according to exit polls from the Associated Press.

Here are the highlights:


  • Seven in ten of Democratic voters say they’re very worried about the economy, by far the highest level of economy worry in a Democratic primary this year.
  • About 4 in 10 voters in the state’s Democratic primary say they consider themselves to be an independent or Republican.
  • One third of Democratic primary voters said they planned to vote for Trump. Clinton beats Trump 44 – 33 among Democrats; Sanders wins 48-32.
  • On free trade, 53 percent of West Virginia Democrats say it costs the U.S. jobs. Only 35 say it helps.
  • Three in ten Democrats said someone in their household works in the coal industry. And nine in ten of them are very worried about the economy.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:45 p.m.

Various big-name candidates are holding election night events to watch results come in after polls close at 7:30 p.m. Democratic gubernatorial front runner Jim Justice is holding an event at The Greenbrier and, as Ashton Marra reports, Justice is expecting a big crowd for his results watch party. 

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 5:57 p.m.

With two hours left until polls close, polling places around the state are still seeing voters come in. Short lines and waits are currently being reported at some precincts, including the Huntington area:

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 4:14 p.m.

People campaigning for Donald Trump were at several polling stations around Morgantown Tuesday. Some were within 300 feet of a station, which is a violation of election law, and were asked to move without incident. Patrick Neal came from Columbus, Ohio, and was outside the Morgantown High School polling station. 

He said he was there to make sure Trump gets the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the GOP nomination and avoid a contested convention. Neal said he and the two other Trump supporters outside MHS heard from quite a few Bernie Sanders supporters, as well as several Trump fans.

Two other Trump campaigners who wished to remain anonymous said several people had given them the middle finger and yelled obscenities at outside the polling station at Mountainview Middle School.

Updated Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 3:35 p.m.

We are following some reports of unaffiliated voters not being given the ballot of their choice.

Briana Wilson, a spokesperson with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office, confirmed these reports by phone as well as email.

“Secretary of State Office liaisons are across the state today in every county and are keeping their eyes out for this issue,” said Wilson in an email.

“Secretary Tennant reminds all unaffiliated voters that they must request a Democrat, Republican or Mountain Party ballot [where available]. They should receive the ballot of their choice,” she added.

Original Post:

Polls opened this morning at 6:30 a.m. for the West Virginia primary and some precincts are reporting intermittent lines—indicating that voter turnout is likely higher than in years past. Early voting for the 2016 primary broke records, with over 100,000 voters casting ballots before the end of Saturday.  

Polls close at 7:30 p.m. and live results will become available at elections.wvpublic.org/live-results

Editor’s Note: For the latest news and live results from the West Virginia primary, visit elections.wvpublic.org

  Beth Walker  NP
10,198 44.3%
  Darrell McGraw  NP
4,997 21.7%
  William Wooton  NP
4,582 19.9%
  Brent Benjamin (i)  NP
2,588 11.2%
  Wayne King  NP
659 2.9%