Early Voting Wraps Up in West Virginia's Primary for Governor

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May 12, 2011

West Virginia

By Steven Allen Adams

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: The 11-day early voting period for the West Virginia gubernatorial election, which ended yesterday, saw an 8.36 percent increase in turnout over last year’s general election primary, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.[1]

Leading up to last year’s May 11 primary, when voters cast ballots for congressional and state legislative candidates, over 40,000 voters took advantage of early voting during a 15-day period. This year’s early voting turnout increased by 3,650, a total of 43,650 early voters.[1]

Early voting for this year’s special primary for governor also exceeded expectations, beating the special U.S. Senate primary turnout in August by 28.98 percent. Early voters in the August 2010 primary cast 31,000 ballots, 12,650 less than what was cast during this year’s early voting period.[1]

Including this year’s gubernatorial primary, the Secretary of State’s office has managed four statewide elections within 12 months. This includes last year's May primary, the Senate primary, the November 2010 regular and special elections and the May 14 primary for governor.[1]

This year, Secretary of State Tennant is also a candidate in the primary. She is one of six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in the Oct. 4 special election. The other candidates are Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, State Treasurer John Perdue, House Speaker Richard Thompson, acting Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, and Arnie Moltis. Republicans candidates include former Secretary of State Betty Ireland, state Sen. Clark Barnes, Del. Mitch Carmichael, Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia, former Delegate Larry Faircloth, former Westover mayor Cliff Ellis, WVU professor Ralph William Clark and businessman Bill Maloney.[1]

The upcoming gubernatorial special election was ordered to fill former Governor Joe Manchin's remaining second term. Manchin won a special election for U.S. Senate against Republican John Raese. Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, as Lieutenant Governor of West Virginia, served in the interim as acting governor.[1]

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