The Democrats running for the agriculture post are department officials Steve Miller and Bob Tabb, retired official Joe Messineo, state Sen. Walt Helmick and Sally Shepherd, a former conservation district official.
Besides Tomblin and Douglass, Democrats also occupy the other four statewide executive branch offices. These other incumbents are unopposed in the primary. So are the Republican candidates for these posts, with one exception. Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall and Putnam County assistant prosecutor Steve Connolly are both running to challenge Treasurer John Perdue.
Voters must also select nominees in the newly redrawn legislative districts. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up this year. So is half the 34-member Senate. But a number of legislative candidates are running in the primary unopposed. Just six of the 17 Senate seats have contested races, for instance, all of them on the Democratic ballot. Democrats hold a majority of seats in both chambers.
Republican voters are expected to endorse their party's presumed presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. The GOP primary will also send 28 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Three will come from each of the congressional districts, while 19 are at-large. President Barack Obama tops the Democratic ballot as he campaigns for a second term.
More than 60,800 voters have already cast early in-person or absentee ballots, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said Monday. That's down from the 2008 primary by about 10,000 votes. The state's elections chief, Tennant was not projecting a primary turnout but planned to keep her office open Tuesday and send staff around the state to ensure voting goes smoothly and to field any reports of fraud.
"If people see things with their own eyes and if they have first-hand knowledge of something, then by all means give us a call,'' said Jake Glance, Tennant's spokesman.
The primary will also decide two seats on each of the 55 counties' nonpartisan school boards, and determine nominees for such county offices as commission, sheriff and magistrate.