CHARLESTON, W.Va. --While Republican incumbent Kylene Dunlap Brown easily kept her seat in the Putnam County primary election, Scot Lawrence, a retired state trooper, ousted incumbent Kim Blair to claim one of the county's three magistrate positions.
Lawrence, 50, of Hurricane, also received more votes than incumbent Linda Hunt. He served as a trooper for 25 years and believes his career in law enforcement will help him handle the position.
"I think I'll bring real life experience to the court," he said.
Brown received 23 percent of the vote with 2,874; Lawrence had 2,537, or 20 percent, and Hunt received 2,392 votes, or 19 percent. Kim Blair, who has served as magistrate since 2002, lost her seat. She received 18 percent of the vote, or 2,310 votes.
"We knew it would be close, but I didn't think it would be that close," Hunt said. "It was very nerve-racking."
Lesli Kuhl Forbis received 10 percent, while Ed Absten picked up about 8 percent.
Blair spent more on her campaign than all other magistrate candidates, according to a financial statement in the Putnam County Clerk's Office. She reported spending $8,293 on radio and newspaper ads and a website, among other expenses.
Lawrence spent $1,815 on his campaign, records show, while Hunt spent $2,837.
"For some reason Putnam [residents] wanted change in the office and I think I offered them that option," Lawrence said.
This fall, two Hurricane attorneys will face off to fill the remainder of retired Putnam Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding's term.
Republican Joseph "Joe" Reeder will run against Democrat Robert Leslie after votes from all 47 precincts were completed at about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Both Reeder, 46, and Leslie, 46, faced tight primary races with only about 200 votes separating them from their opponents.
Leslie defeated two challengers in the Democratic primary -- Rosalee Juba Plumley, a Poca attorney, by only 202 votes. David Hill, a Culloden attorney, had 699.
Tuesday's primary marked Plumley's third run for circuit judge in Putnam County.
"It was close but going into the campaign I knew it would be close," Leslie said. "I had some great people advise me and around me who helped me work out a plan and I was confident I would be successful."
Leslie said he spoke to Reeder on the phone Wednesday morning. "We congratulated each other and said 'see you on the campaign trail.'"
"Joe and I have known each other almost the entirety of our legal careers," Leslie said.
Former Judge Edward Eagloski, who served as a Putnam circuit judge from 2001 until he was defeated by Judge Phillip Stowers in 2008 by a slim margin, fell short by 252 votes. Results show Eagloski with 2,472 votes compared to Reeder's 2,724.
"It was a close race and obviously Mr. Eagloski and his supporters fought hard," Reeder said. "We were just glad to come out with the victory and I look forward to facing Bob in the fall."
Republican Steve Deweese, 46, a former longtime Putnam sheriff's deputy, will face Democrat Bud Lett, 59, of Fraziers Bottom, the Kenova police chief and retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent, in the general election after easily defeating Rick Parsons, a former Charleston police officer, with 70 percent of the vote.
Deweese, who led the race by a large margin throughout Tuesday night, received 3,814 votes. Parsons picked up only 1,628 votes.
"This has been a lifelong dream ... It's amazing. I'm six months closer to my goal," Deweese said after about half the precincts calculated confirmed his win.
Lett said he'd spend the next six months talking to Putnam residents.
"I plan on going to a lot of subdivisions and speaking to citizens face to face, letting them know my qualifications and what I think I can bring to the sheriff's department," Lett said.Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.