While Monday’s filing deadline for the primaries left only six unopposed candidates on the Democratic ballot for various county offices, the GOP will have six contested races for county posts.
In addition, the GOP has a 3-way race for Republican county chairman, and even five contested races for precinct chairman, an office which is rarely contested here.
In addition, the Libertarian Party is fielding its first-ever candidates for Upshur offices, as four are seeking separate posts. That party will choose its nominees for the November general election at its March 13 county convention, but the filing deadline was Monday.
Drawing the most candidates is the contest for county clerk, which drew four Republicans, a Democrat, and a Libertarian.
Republican incumbent Peggy LaGrone, seeking re-election to a second term, has three GOP opponents: Cathy Mullins, Brandy Lee and Tina Smith.
Former County Clerk Robin Rodenberg, who lost her bid for reelection to Ms. LaGrone in the November 2006 general election, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
June Forbing filed for the Libertarian nomination.
The GOP race for county judge pits incumbent Dean Fowler, seeking a third term, against John Melvin Dodd, who lost to Fowler in the November 2006 general election when Fowler ran as a Democrat.
James (Jim) Eitel is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the post.
Three Republican candidates, one Democrat, and a Libertarian are seeking the Pct. 2 county commissioner post held by Democrat Joe (Buddy) Ferguson, who isn’t seeking reelection. The GOP field includes Cole Hefner, Don Gross, and Mark Mitchell while Joe W. Newsom is the Democratic candidate.
Allen Weatherford is the Libertarian candidate.
Three Republican candidates and a Libertarian are also seeking the Pct. 4 county commissioner seat held by Glenn Campbell, who is unopposed on the Democratic ballot for reelection to a second term.
The GOP candidates include former Commissioner Gary Drennan, who lost his bid for reelection in the 2006 Democratic primary to Campbell; Ron South and Mike Spencer.
Vance Lowry is the Libertarian candidate.
Races also developed for two of four justice of the peace positions on the Republican ballot.
Pct. 3 incumbent Rhonda Welch, seeking reelection to a second term, faces Martha Wilson Goolsby, who just resigned as a Democratic precinct chairman.
Pct. 1 incumbent Wyone Manes, a former Democrat also seeking reelection, is running against Laurie Lee Norred.
Cloddie Henson is unopposed for the GOP nomination for peace justice in Pct. 4, and will face Democratic incumbent W.V. Ray in the November general election. Ray, who is unopposed for the post on his party’s ballot and the dean of Upshur County officeholders, defeated Henson, a onetime constable, for the judge’s post a few years ago.
Another former Democrat, Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter, is unopposed for re-election on the Republican ballot, but Libertarian Sheri Little is also seeking the position. No Democrats filed for it.
Unopposed in their bids for reelection on the Republican ballot are District Attorney Billy Byrd and District Clerk Carolyn Bullock Parrott, a former Demorat. No Democrats or Libertarians filed for those posts.
Longtime County Treasurer Myra Harris, a Democrat, has no opponent from any party in her bid for reelection.
Michael Turner, who filed in the GOP primary for county surveyor, also has no opponent from any party. Democrat Joe Cox, who had long held the office, said Tuesday he resigned effective Dec. 31 as he had recently said he might do.
Meantime, the race for Republican county chair is between incumbent Brenda Patterson, seeking reelection; Chrissy Fincher and Ken Ambrose. Joe W. Newsom Jr., whose father is running for Pct. 2 county commissioner, is unopposed for reelection as Democratic county chairman.
The five contested GOP races for precinct chairman are in Election Pct. 1, pitting incumbent Lanette Crittenden against Wayne Oney; Pct. 4, where incumbent De’Borah Storm Cloud Bankston faces Joy Kindred Connery; Pct. 13, where incumbent Kenneth Yates is challenged by Clifford Lee Barnes, Jr.; Pct. 14, where incumbent Linda Ambrose faces Matt Byrd; and Pct. 17, where incumbent Teresa Huggins opposes Norman Buck Newsome.
Oney unsuccessfully challenged Mrs. Crittenden’s husband, Pct. 1 Comm. James Crittenden, in the 2008 GOP primary for Crittenden’s post. Crittenden won renomination for a second term and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent in that year’s general election.
Mrs. Ambrose, who also drew an opponent in a precinct chair race, is the wife of Ken Ambrose, who is running for Republican county chair.
Candidates for nine other GOP precinct chair places escaped opposition.
Fowler, Mrs. Parrott, and Potter were among five Upshur County elected officials to announce Dec. 1 they were switching to the GOP.
The others, Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Pct. 2 Constable Jason Weeks, are not up for election this year.