Elections, Government, Latest News, West Virginia Legislature

Senate President Blair is defeated in primary as are incumbents Maroney, Swope and Karnes

The last time Blair’s seat was up, 2020, he earned 53% of the vote in the primary election to his far lesser known opponent’s 47 percent. That year’s general election was then a blowout for Blair.

Willis describes himself as “a constitutional Christian conservative.” He was a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret and is a current member of the West Virginia National Guard. He’s a partner at a Martinsburg law firm and previously served as an international business attorney in Washington, D.C.

The Senate has a Republican supermajority, but it is divided among some who emphasize economic issues and others who are more driven by cultural issues.

Blair and Karnes were particularly at odds. Karnes was defeated by developer Robbie Morris in a big district that includes Randolph County.

Blair had supported Espinosa, who lost his bid to defeat incumbent Senator Rucker. Rucker two years ago had strongly considered challenging Blair for Senate president. Blair removed Rucker as Senate Education chairwoman and handed that role to Grady.

Maroney, the Senate Health chairman, lost a district sprawling over nine counties to Chris Rose, a coal miner.

Swope, founder of Swope Construction in Bluefield, lost to challenger Craig Hart of Mingo County.

Some Republican incumbents successfully defended their seats. Those included Senator Ryan Weld, the majority whip, who defeated challenger Scott Adams. Senator Eric Nelson defeated former Delegate Chris Pritt.

Some senators were unopposed in their primaries. Those included Grady, longtime Senator Donna Boley and senators Glenn Jeffries, Jack David Woodrum, Patrick Martin and Rupie Phillips.

Scott Fuller was the winner in the Republican race for a seat that has been held by Democratic Senator Robert Plymale for many years. The Democratic candidate in that Senate race is Delegate Ric Griffith, a pharmacist and operator of the popular Pumpkin House attraction.

Senator Mark Hunt, R-Kanawha, wasn’t on the ballot to defend that seat but he sought and won the Republican nomination for state auditor.

In the House of Delegates, some incumbents were also defeated. Those included delegates Heather Tully of Nicholas County, Diana Winzenreid of Ohio County, Don Forscht of Berkeley County and David “Flimsy” Adkins of Lincoln County.