CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Primary voters set up a rematch between Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Republican Bill Maloney on Tuesday, while also picking candidates in several other state level races.
With 25 percent of precincts reporting, Maloney overcame GOP rival Ralph William Clark with 86 percent, while Tomblin bested fellow Democrat Arne Moltis with 84 percent. Tomblin narrowly defeated Maloney in last year's special gubernatorial election for an unexpired term. The office is now up for a full, four-year term.
Of the five Democrats seeking a chance to succeed retiring Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass, Shepherd, a conservation district official, had 30 percent of the vote while state Sen. Walt Helmick followed closely at 29 percent. Kent Leonhardt is unopposed in the GOP primary for that office.
Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall had 56 percent of the vote to Putnam County assistant prosecutor Steve Connolly's 43 percent in the GOP primary for state treasurer. The nominee will challenge incumbent Treasurer John Perdue. A Democrat, Perdue is assured his party's nomination as are Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Attorney General Darrell McGraw and Auditor Glen Gainer. Each will face a GOP opponent in November.
Adam Jones, a 31-year-old Democrat and teacher from Cross Lanes, said he was aware of recent statements from Sen. Joe Manchin and Tomblin that they weren't sure whether they'd support President Obama in the November election. Jones voted for Tomblin and Manchin anyway.
"It takes a lot of guts to come out and say that you don't agree with the president who belongs to the party you're in,'' Jones said.
Wanda Goodwin, a 61-year-old Republican who said she sometimes sides with Democrats, agreed with Jones.
"It makes me like them more,'' said Goodwin, executive director of the state Board of Veterinary Medicine.
But the stances of Manchin and Tomblin dismayed Democrat Maria Gaddis. The academic adviser at West Virginia University in Morgantown voted for President Obama, though she said she isn't sure he can win the state.