Sixteen public offices in Jefferson County are up for grabs in this year’s primary election set for Tuesday, May 12. Some nonpartisan contests will be decided by the primary election’s results, including two school board seats and three magistrate judge positions.
Pete Dougherty of Charles Town, who as Jefferson County’s current sheriff by law can’t stand for re-election for a third consecutive term, is vying as a Democrat for the District 16 state Senate seat. First-term incumbent Republican Patricia Rucker of Harpers Ferry plans to seek re-election.
House of Delegates
Three of Jefferson County’s delegate seats are facing the voters. First-term Democrat Sammi Brown of Ranson was running for re-election for a District 65 delegate position without a challenger as of midday Tuesday. Three-term incumbent Republican Paul Espinosa of Summit Point is running for re-election for a District 66 delegate seat against Democrat Storme Frame, a first-time candidate. Incumbent Democrat John Doyle of Shepherdstown is being challenged by Republican Mark Everhart, a Shepherdstown councilman running his first campaign for state office, for a District 67 delegate position.
Jefferson County Commission
Two seats carrying six-year terms on the Jefferson County Commission face partisan elections.
For a Kabletown district seat, so far two candidates have announced bids: Steve Stolipher, a businessman, developer and farmer living south of Charles Town, is running as a Republican first-time candidate, and Lanae Johnson of Charles Town, a retired personnel manager and Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, is a Democrat and first-time candidate.
For a Harpers Ferry seat, Democrat Ralph Lorenzetti, a former county prosecutor attorney, is running for re-election. Republicans Tricia Jackson of Harpers Ferry, a human resources consultant and a first-time candidate, and Gary Cogle of Harpers Ferry, a legislative administrator for the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, are running for the position and will face each other in the primary.
Mountain Party candidate David Tabb of Harpers Ferry, who sought the commission seat in 2018, has filed a pre-candidate registration.
Three of the five Jefferson County Board of Education positions are facing the voters in the primary election. The top three vote-getters will take the nonpartisan positions.
Businesswoman Barbara Fuller of Middleway has declared her campaign to compete for one of the seats carrying a four-year term. Those two positions are held by Mark Osbourn of Shepherdstown and Gary Kable of Kabletown.
A third school board position will allow a third candidate to serve two years remaining on an unexpired term ending June 2022. Wendy Lochner, a former Jefferson County teacher from Shepherdstown, was appointed to that school board position after Arthena Roper resigned the position last year to seek a Magistrate Court judgeship.
A crowded field of candidates is forming to compete to serve a four-year term as sheriff, the county’s top police official. The sheriff, a partisan position, also serves a county treasurer, who oversees the tax office that collects local taxes.
Three people with law enforcement backgrounds had filed as candidates. Mike Chapman of Rippon, a 10-year reserve deputy sheriff and an information technology business professional, is running as a Democrat. John King of Charles Town, a retired special agent with the U.S. Capitol Police, is running as an Independent. Steve Harris of Shannondale, a retired police officer, is running as a Republican.
Three other candidates had filed pre-candidate notices, signaling their intentions to run for sheriff: Steve Cox of Summit Point, a former Ranson police officer and current law enforcement trainer who registered with no party affiliation; Democrat Ronald Fletcher of Charles Town, chief deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and president of the Citizens Volunteer Fire Co. in Charles Town; and Republican Tom Hansen of Kearneysville, a retired lieutenant with the county Sheriff’s Office.
A four-year term for prosecuting attorney is up for election. First-term Republican incumbent Matt Harvey of Shepherdstown had filed a pre-candidacy registration and had no primary or general election challengers as of midday Tuesday.
Three magistrate court judge positions are up for election. The nonpartisan positions carry four-year terms. Vicki D’Angelo of Charles Town, a longtime assistant magistrate, and Arthena Roper of Charles Town, who was elected to the school board in 2018, were appointed to serve unexpired terms for retiring magistrates and are both running for election for a magistrate seat.
Two other county residents are also running for a magistrate post: Denesia Chicchirichi of Charles Town, who has worked 16 years as a bail bondsman in Berkeley County; and Osmund A. Anderson of Charles Town, a retired Army sergeant. Carmela Cesare, a Shepherdstown resident and a former prosecuting and defense attorney, has filed a pre-candidate registration.
An election is taking place for a four-year term as county assessor, a partisan position that oversees the office that determines the value of property to be taxed. Incumbent Angela Banks, a Democrat, has filed for re-election with no challenger yet filing as of midday Tuesday.
Republican Roger Harris of Harpers Ferry, a professional land surveyor, is pursuing the non-salaried, partisan position established by the West Virginia Constitution.
Conservation District Supervisor
This nonpartisan, non-salaried position serves a four-year term as Jefferson County’s representative on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service board for the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District, which oversees several conservation programs and activities. As of midday Tuesday, no person had filed as a candidate. Danny Lutz of Wheatland currently serves in the post.