Dave Mistich Published

Primary Ballots Take Shape: West Virginia’s Filing Period For 2020 Election Cycle Begins


Over the next couple of weeks, West Virginia will get an idea who will be on the ballot for the upcoming election cycle — from the President of the United States and congressional openings all the way down to races for constitutional offices, statehouse seats and the Supreme Court. The filing period for the state’s 2020 election cycle is now underway and dozens of would-be officials have formally declared their candidacy. 

The 13-day window kicked off Monday, Jan. 13. Elections officials with the Secretary of State’s office said turnout for the first day of the filing period was steady. 

“Usually, the first day is very hectic — very busy — and we always have a pretty big rush. This is the second election I remember that people were here before we opened,” elections director Brittany Westfall said.

By Monday afternoon, Democrat and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was the only person to file to be on West Virginia’s primary ballot for president in 2020.

Former state senator Richard Ojeda — who left the Senate early in 2019 to pursue a short-lived run for President of the United States — is now hoping to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020. That seat is currently held by Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. 

Paula Jean Swearengin, who ran unsuccessfully against Joe Manchin in the 2016 primary for U.S. Senate, also filed to run for the seat currently held by Capito. Swearengin and Ojeda will face off in the upcoming Democratic primary. 

In the race for governor, Republicans Mike Folk and Woody Thrasher also took advantage of the first day of the filing period to make their candidacy official. 

Dozens of others made their candidacy official Monday, including those running for House of Delegates, the state Senate, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and the state’s five constitutional officers. Elections officials expect candidates to trickle in throughout the filing period. 

“I expect people right up to the deadline – and, sometimes, on that very last day – it can get kind of busy as well,” Westfall said. 

The filing period ends Saturday, Jan. 25 at midnight. Candidates can file at the Secretary of State’s office or by mail. If filing by mail, applications must be notarized, include the appropriate fee and be postmarked by the date of the filing deadline.

West Virginia’s primary election will be held Tuesday, May 12.