Nelson, Hatfield lead party tickets in House 35th; Martin, Cadle top vote-getters in 13th District

In a crowded field of candidates vying to represent the House of Delegates 35th District, three Republican incumbents and a former House Democrat won spots on the ballot for the November general election.

With all Kanawha precincts reporting in Tuesday’s primary, Delegate Eric Nelson led GOP candidates with 2,938 votes, followed by Delegate Suzette Raines with 2,545 votes, and Delegate John “J.B.” McCuskey with 2,430 votes. Picking up the fourth and final spot on the November ballot was Charleston optometrist Chris Stansbury with 1,782 votes.

McCuskey said he expects a strong showing by Republicans — who hold three of the district’s four seats — in November.

“We have a phenomenal group of candidates,” McCuskey said late Tuesday night. “It bodes well for the fall.”

Missing the cut in Tuesday’s primary were Republicans Marie Sprouse-McDavid with 1,278 votes, and Richard McGinnis with 810 votes.

In the 35th District Democratic primary, former longtime House member Barbara “Bobbie” Hatfield, who lost her seat in 2012, led the ticket with 3,581 votes.

Political newcomer Andrew Byrd was second with 2,507 votes, followed by Sherri Wong, who owns Bridge Road Bistro, with 2,442 votes, and South Charleston lawyer Thornton Cooper with 2,230 votes.

Democrats hope to capture at least two of the four seats in the district.

“We’re going to have to work hard,” Byrd said.

Cooper said the 35th District race could play a role in whether Democrats keep control of the House of Delegates come November.

“We obviously would like to win all four seats,” Cooper said Tuesday night.

Democrats running in the 35th District who didn’t make the November ballot were St. Albans City Councilman John Caudill with 1,973 votes, real estate agent Bret Nida with 1,529 votes, Gary Winter with 1,114 votes, David Harless with 845 votes, and Joe Wallace with 751 votes.

Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, the only Democrat currently representing the 35th District, is giving up his seat to run for state Senate. The 35th District stretches across parts of South Hills, South Charleston, St. Albans and Dunbar.

In other House races Tuesday, Winfield businessman Geoff Foster defeated former Charleston police officer Duke In the House 13th District, Democrats Joshua Martin and Josh McGrath won two spots on the November ballot. Martin had 1,270 votes, and McGrath had 869 votes. Lawyer Rosalee Juba Plumley finished last with 767 votes.

Two seats are at stake in the 13th District. Incumbent Delegate Brady Paxton, D-Putnam, is not running because of health problems.

The other House 13th District incumbent, Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Mason, led the GOP primary Tuesday night with 1,028 votes. Ravenswood Mayor Michael Ihle was next with 792 votes. Not making the November ballot were lawyer Tim Gibson with 720 votes, and Nathan “Nate” Westfall with 643 votes.

Tuesday’s 13th District primary winners will compete for the district’s two seats in November.

In the House 14th District, incumbent Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, and Democrat Johnny Roach were unopposed in the primary.

In Fayette County’s three-member House 32nd District, incumbent Delegates John Pino, Margaret Staggers and David Perry had no opposition in Tuesday’s primary. They face Republicans Tom Fast, William Hughes and Kayla Kessinger, along with Mountain Party candidate Tighe Bullock, in the November general election.

Reach Eric Eyre at or 304-348-4869.

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