CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Many political observers were surprised that Allen Loughry won one of two seats on the state Supreme Court in Tuesday's election -- and that includes Loughry.
But even as he acknowledged that he wasn't sure he would win, Loughry said his campaign made the difference.
"We worked very hard. We ran a very, very positive campaign. I wanted to run a campaign that my son would be proud of, that my father would be proud of and all West Virginians would be proud of," Loughry said this week.
Loughry came in second in a four-way race for the two Supreme Court seats. Incumbent Justice Robin Davis was re-elected. Democratic challenger Letitia Chafin, a former State Bar president, and Republican John Yoder, a circuit judge from the Eastern Panhandle, lost the race, but not by much.
"We got into this as a family. We ran a positive, family-oriented campaign. I am very glad we did it that way. We wouldn't have done it any other way," said Loughry, whose campaign featured a television ad with his young son, Justus.
"People I didn't know they would constantly come up to me and say, 'Thank you for running a positive campaign,"" he said.
"People were upset at the negativity of political campaigns, whether they were the presidential campaign, the Ohio congressional campaign [which had ads on West Virginia television stations] or the West Virginia gubernatorial campaign."
Loughry believes positive campaigns that avoid negative attack ads can help people, like himself, win.
"I think that made a difference. I think politicians often believe that to win an election you have to play from a certain playbook that includes negative campaigning and tearing down the other candidates. It is not my style."
Since Tuesday's election, Loughry said, he has received hundreds of telephone calls, email and phone texts.
"I sincerely appreciate people have taken their time to send me nice comments."
Loughry said he was particularly impressed by an email he received from a young man in Roane County he never met.
"Congratulations," the young man wrote. "I have been waiting so long for 'an average Joe' to be elected to such an important office. The fact that a candidate who spent millions of dollars to promote her campaign was unsuccessful has given me hope that I can be a successful public servant and politician in West Virginia, even though I came from an average working class family."
The young man is a student at West Virginia University, who drove back to his home in Roane County to vote on Tuesday.
Loughry said, "That email means so much to me. I want the next generation of young people, regardless of their political party affiliation, to get involved and realize they do matter."
After initially announcing that he would run for Supreme Court as an independent, Loughry changed his political affiliation to Republican last year. He and Yoder were unopposed in the Republican primary.