May 10, 2022 - Republicans hold supermajorities in the West Virginia House of Delegates and the state Senate. Half of the 34-member Senate is up for election this year.
Republicans outnumber Democrats 78-22 in the House, 23-11 in the state Senate and are looking to add to their supermajority this fall. There are no Democratic candidates in six of the 17 state Senate primaries and 27 of the 100 House of Delegates races. Overall, Democrats have contested races in just two Senate primaries and 16 House primaries.
Four senators, including three Democrats, did not seek reelection and eight others are unopposed in the primary. More than half of the House is running unopposed while 15 incumbents, including 10 Republicans, did not seek reelection. All delegates will be chosen from single-member districts because of a 2018 restructuring. Previously, some districts had multiple delegates. Because of redistricting, some incumbent lawmakers will face each other in their new districts.
Here is a look at some of the key legislative races in the May 10 primary election in West Virginia.
Democrat Owens Brown, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice last October and is the first Black man to serve in the Senate, goes up against former Delegate Randy Swartzmiller in the primary, where two Republicans also are running.
Republican incumbent Mike Azinger takes on GOP Delegate John Kelly in the new four-county Ohio Valley district.
Former U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart opposes Republican Chad McCormick in the five-county southern district where Dr. Ron Stollings, an incumbent Democrat, has no primary opposition.
Sen. Richard Lindsay is unopposed in the Democrat primary. On the Republican side, a Kanawha County judge on Wednesday issued a ruling in a voter’s petition that candidate Andrea Garrett Kiessling is ineligible to run in the primary because she has not been a resident of the state for the required five years. Others in the GOP primary are former Delegate Joshua Higginbotham, ex-Democratic Delegate Mark Hunt and Mark Mitchem.
Incumbent Republican Rollan Roberts faces GOP challenger Mick Bates in a southern district where no Democrat is running in the primary. Bates is a delegate and former Democrat.
Republican Delegate Ben Queen is running unopposed. No Democrat is on the primary ballot.
Former Senate Democrat Mike Oliverio is seeking a seat again, this time as a Republican. He faces former FBI officer and analyst Carly Braun. Barbara Evans Fleischauer, a longtime House Democrat, takes on Monongalia County assessor’s office employee Rich Jacobs.
Delegate Jason Barrett is up against paralegal Renee Wibly in the GOP primary. No Democrat has filed to run.
HOUSE OF DELEGATES
Republican incumbent Riley Keaton takes on former GOP Delegate Rick Atkinson in the district representing Roane and portions of Wirt counties.
Republican Larry Pack and Democrat Kayla Young, incumbents whose previous district in Kanawha County had four delegates, will face primary opposition from Richard Boggess and Devin Casey, respectively.
In a new district spanning portions of Cabell and Wayne counties, Democratic incumbents Ric Griffith of Kenova and Chad Lovejoy of Huntington will meet.