RANSON – Incumbent Mayor Keith “Duke” Pierson, an integral figure in recruiting the Rockwool factory to Ranson, held off two challengers by 29 votes in this year’s city election.
Pierson, who has served 29 years as an elected city official, received 129 total votes in the election that ended Tuesday night. His challengers, Tyler Payton, and Brian Parrish Sr., drew 100 votes and 17 votes, respectively.
Winning a second four-year term as mayor, Pierson first served as a council member starting in 1992. He was appointed mayor in 2016, after the death of former mayor David Hamill, before he was elected to his first as mayor a year later.
This year’s municipal election in Ranson was the first since the Rockwool factory became controversial with a number of Jefferson County residents after construction on the 460,000-square-foot facility near Kearneysville broke ground in 2018.
Payton, a lifetime county resident and a retired government worker who works as a Jefferson County Courthouse bailiff, was a critic of the city’s efforts to help bring the Rockwool factory to Jefferson County. The factory went into production manufacturing mineral wool products last month. The mayor’s race was Payton's first bid for public office in Ranson.
Parrish is a former president of the Charles Town Moose Lodge in Ranson who kept a low profile during the election. His position on his views and positions, including the Rockwool factory, weren’t widely stated in public.
Also winning City Council positions during the election were At-Large incumbent Amanda Stroud, a 21-year city resident and a community college librarian, and Ward 3 council incumbent Mike Anderson, who ran unopposed for a third council term and received 199 votes.
Stroud received 129 total votes. Her challenger, Mike Baker, a program manager for a military contractor in Washington, D.C., who moved to Ranson a year ago, picked up 93 votes.
Stroud and Baker spoke out against the Rockwool factory.
Anderson first became involved in Ranson's government as a city planning commission member. He was initially appointed to serve in an unexpired council term and then ran unopposed in two elections.
Ranson has 3,338 registered voters.