Walt Helmick

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Walt Helmick
Helmick walt.jpg
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture
In office
January 2013-Present
Term ends
Years in position 2
PredecessorGus Douglass (D)
Base salary$95,000
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$643,242
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
West Virginia State Senate District 15
West Virginia House of Delegates
Pocahontas County Commission
Board of Education, Pocahontas County
Bachelor'sWest Virginia University Institute of Technology, 1993
Date of birthApril 25, 1944
Place of birthWebster Springs, WV
Office website
Campaign website
Walt Helmick (b. April 25, 1944 in Webster Springs, West Virginia) is the current Democratic West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture.

Helmick was a Democratic member of the West Virginia State Senate. He represented District 15 from his appointment in 1990 to 2012. Previously, he served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1988 to 1989.


Helmick's political experience began with his membership on the Pocahontas County Board of Education from 1976 to 1978. He was also president/member of the Pocahontas County Commission from 1978 to 1989.

Helmick has worked as owner and operator of a small business and also as a school teacher. He was president of H and S Welding Supply from 1973 to 1987. He also was president of Allegheny Medical Equipment Company from 1983 to 1986. He then worked as vice-president for Quaill Hollow Mining Company from 1987 to 1988. From 1996 to 1997, Helmick was Executive Director of Pocahontas County Development Authority.[1]


Helmick attended Marshall University. He graduated from Menderhall School of Auctioneering in 1991. He went on to earn his B.A. from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in 1993. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute in 1996.

Political career

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture (2013-present)

Helmick has served as West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture since January 2013.

West Virginia State Senate (1990-2012)

Helmick represented District 15 in the West Virginia State Senate from 1990 to 2012.

Committee assignments


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Helmick served on these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Helmick served on these committees:

West Virginia House of Delegates (1988-1989)



See also: West Virginia down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Helmick won election as West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture.[2] He defeated Sally Shepherd, Steve Miller, Bob Tabb and Joe Messineo in the Democratic primary on May 8.[3] Helmick defeated Kent Leonhardt in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4]

Incumbent Gus Douglass did not run for re-election.

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWalt Helmick 51.5% 268,879
     Republican Kent Leonhardt 48.5% 252,783
Total Votes 521,662
Election Results West Virginia Secretary of State Election Results Center.

Agriculture Commissioner of West Virginia Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngWalt Helmick 32.9% 59,376
Sally Shepherd 24.6% 44,454
Steve Miller 21.7% 39,130
Joe Messineo 13.6% 24,613
Bob Tabb 7.2% 12,976
Total Votes 180,549
Election Results via The West Virginia Secretary of State.


Helmick received endorsements from:[5]

  • The Charleston Daily Mail
  • Times West Virginian
  • West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Hospital Association
  • West Virginia Manufacturers Association
  • West Virginians for Life

Candidacy questioned

In late-February 2011, Joe Starcher filed a suit against Helmick claiming that he failed to meet the requirement that a candidate for Agriculture Commissioner must have an agriculture business for at least ten years as his chief business.

Chapter 19, Article 1 of West Virginia Code stipulates the commissioner of agriculture "shall be a practical farmer, learned in the science of agriculture, and shall have made agriculture his chief business for a period of ten years immediately preceding his election."[6]

Helmick claimed that he has a business that qualifies.[7] The Charleston Gazette reported "According to his financial disclosure filed with the state Ethics Commission, Helmick's primary occupations are as state senator and owner of Allegheny Lodge LLC, a Pocahontas County company that produces bottled water and rents vacation cabins."[8] On February 27, the state Supreme Court refused to hear Starcher's writ, saying it was premature and should be heard in circuit court first.[9]

On March 1, a Kanawha County Circuit judge refused the petition, ruling Helmick could remain on the ballot.[10]


See also: West Virginia State Senate elections, 2010

Walt Helmick was re-elected to West Virginia State Senate, District 15. He defeated Democrat Thomas Ditty in the May 11 primary. He defeated Republican Greg Brown in the November 2, 2010 general election.[11] [12][13]

West Virginia State Senate, District 15 (2010) General Election
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Walt Helmick (D) 19,192 57.01%
Jeremy Bauserman (R) 14,470 42.99%
West Virginia State Senate, District 15 Democratic Primary (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Walt Helmick (D) 6,864 43.59%
Thomas Paul Ditty (D) 3,310 21.02%


On November 7, 2006, Walt Helmick won re-election to the West Virginia State Senate, District 15. He was unopposed.[14]

Helmick raised $111,431 for his campaign. [15]

West Virginia Senate, District 15 (2006)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Walt Helmick (D) 21,509

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Helmick is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Helmick raised a total of $643,242 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 7, 2013.[16]

Walt Helmick's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 WV Agriculture Commissioner Won $233,407
2010 WV State Senate Won $150,688
2008 WV State Senate Not up for election $158
2006 WV State Senate Won $111,431
2004 WV State Senate Not up for election $43,348
2002 WV State Senate Won $54,830
1998 WV State Senate Won $49,380
Grand Total Raised $643,242


Helmick won election to the position of West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner in 2012. During that election cycle, Helmick raised a total of $233,407.


In 2010, Helmick received $150,688 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[17]


Helmick raised $111,431 for the 2006 election.

His major contributors are listed below.[18]

Donor Amount
Contractors Association of West Virginia $2,000
Altria $1,750
West Virginia Bankers Association $1,500
West Virginia Federation of Teachers $1,500


Helmick and his wife Rita Fay Hedrick have four children.

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Political offices
Preceded by
West Virginia State Senate District 15
Succeeded by
Donald H. Cookman (D)
Preceded by
Gus Douglass (D)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture
Succeeded by