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Andes beats challenger Dials in Putnam commission race

By Ryan Quinn, Staff writer

WINFIELD — Steve Andes, a nearly 12-year incumbent on the Putnam County Commission, garnered almost twice as many votes as Republican primary challenger Jerry Dials in Tuesday’s primary.

Andes won 2,444 to 1,223.

No Democrats have filed to run in the November general election, so Andes, the current commission president, will likely begin a third six-year term Jan. 1.

“I’m glad the people of Putnam County had faith in me,” Andes said. He said he had more people offer support in this election than ever before and thanked family members for their help.

Andes said he will focus on extending sewer and water service to residents, building more athletic fields and bringing new businesses to the county.

Pre-primary campaign finance reports, which were due May 2, showed Andes had spent more than $1,700 and had $4,000 left going into Tuesday’s election. Dials had spent $4,300 and had less than $60 left. Reports showing more recent spending aren’t due until June 23.

In the closest local Putnam race, Rick Witt, a local attorney who represents clients in family court, defeated Deloris “Jeanie” Nibert 2,064 to 1,629 in the Republican primary for the county’s unexpired family court judge seat.

Nibert, a former family court judge in Mason and Jackson counties, has been serving in the position since January 2013, when the state Supreme Court appointed her to fill in for InInvestigation Commission charged him with delaying rulings, failing to enter domestic violence orders into the state’s tracking system and screaming and cursing at litigants. The governor later appointed Nibert to fill in until the election.

Witt will now face Democrat David Hill in the general election. Hill did not have a primary opponent.

Nibert’s final pre-primary finance report showed she had spent about $26,000 and had roughly $3,000 remaining. Witt had spent about $34,000 and had $6,000 left according to his final pre-primary report, which he e-mailed to the Gazette May 6 after failing to turn it in before the May 2 deadline.

In the only contested county school board race, Dr. Craig Spicer, a 16-year board incumbent, beat Diana McCallister, 3,380 to 2,811 in Spicer’s bid to win a fifth term. School board members are elected during the primary and start their four-year terms July 1.

Neither Spicer nor McCallister turned in pre-primary finance reports on time, but Spicer told the Gazette he had spent about $3,000 as of May 6.

Rob Cunningham and Butch Legg, two unchallenged school board incumbents, were also running for re-election. Cunningham got 3,233 votes and Legg received 3,146.

In total, 6,672 votes were cast, 2,595 from Democrats and 4,030 from Republicans. In the last regular non-presidential primary election, which was in 2010, Putnam voters cast 7,221 votes.

Reach Ryan Quinn at ryan.quinn@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1254.


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