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Putnam incumbents, newcomers win primary

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Incumbent lawmaker Troy Andes, R-Putnam, had to run in a redrawn legislative district Tuesday, but he's headed back to the House of Delegates. In the new 15th District, Andes was leading political newcomer Joe Bocook by a wide margin in Tuesday's Republican primary. With 24 of 47 precincts reporting, Andes had 1,671 votes to Bocook's 364 votes. No Democrats ran in the 15th District primary, so Andes has no opposition in the general election.   The 15th District, which has one seat, includes most of the area around Teays Valley outside Hurricane's city limits. Andes, a human resource manager with Alpha Natural Resources, now represents the House's 14th District.Putnam candidates also were faring well in other House races Tuesday night.  In the new 13th District, incumbent House members Brady Paxton and Helen Martin, both Democrats, were unopposed and advanced to the November ballot. The 13th District has two seats. Paxton and Martin will likely face off against Republicans Scott Cadle and Brian "Scotty" Scott. With 27 of 37 precincts reporting in Tuesday's 13th District Republican primary, Cadle had 1,437 votes, followed by Scott with 989 votes, Nathan "Nate" Westfall with 557 votes, and Harold Sanders with 430 votes. The new 13th District includes Eleanor, Buffalo, Bancroft, Hometown, Poca, and parts of Mason and Jackson counties. In the 14th District, candidates from Mason County were headed to spots on the November ballot. Jimmy Wood Jr., a Democrat, will likely oppose Jim Butler, a Republican. Both are political newcomers. 
The new 14th District has one seat, and includes the northwest corner of Putnam County and a significant portion of Mason County. With 19 of 21 precincts reporting, Wood was leading the Democratic primary with 1,041 votes. Samantha Fooce was running second with 386 votes, and Kermit Beaver Jr. had 326 votes. In the 14th District Republican primary, Butler was leading with 699 votes, followed by John Casey with 537 votes and Darrell Justin Black with 407. The new House 22nd District's Democratic primary featured a showdown between a host of Lincoln County candidates and one Putnam County candidate. The district has two seats up for grabs. With 20 of 30 precincts reporting, incumbent lawmaker Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln, was leading Tuesday's Democratic primary in the 22nd District with 1,734 votes. Also expected to win a spot on November's primary ballot was Democratic candidate Jeff Eldridge, a former House member, with 1,498 votes.
Democratic candidate Bill Bryant was in third with 659 votes, followed by Gloria Triplett with 530 votes and Ed Triplett with 506. In November, Stowers and Eldridge will battle Gary Johngrass and Michel Moffatt, two Republicans who were running unopposed in the 22nd District primary. The new 22nd District includes most of Lincoln County, Hurricane in Putnam County, and parts of Boone and Logan counties. Putnam County officials were so upset by the state's redistricting process that they sued over it, saying the plan could leave one of the state's fastest-growing counties with just one representative in the House of Delegates. The state Supreme Court rejected their arguments.After Tuesday's primary, Andes was the only Putnam County resident guaranteed to have a seat in the Legislature next year. Putnam residents Martin, Paxton and Beaver also will likely be on the November ballot. Reach Eric Eyre at or 304-348-4869. 
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