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Amy Nichole Grady, a teacher from Leon, defeated incumbent Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, in Tuesday’s primary election.

Grady, a teacher at Leon Elementary School in Mason County, totaled 6,402 votes to Carmichael’s 5,762 votes. Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, finished last in the Republican primary with 4,265 total votes.

Inspired by the West Virginia teacher strike, Grady first ran for state Senate in 2018 as an independent, according to 100 Days in Appalachia. She picked up just 4,000 votes in that race.

On Tuesday, however, Grady unseated West Virginia’s lieutenant governor.

Carmichael congratulated Grady in a tweet late Tuesday night.

“Congratulations to my opponent, Amy Nichole Grady, on winning the 2020 GOP nomination for State Senate in WV’s 4th District. I look forward to supporting your campaign this fall to ensure our district continues to have a leader who will always fight for conservative values,” Carmichael wrote.

Carmichael grew up in Ripley and worked in technology before coming into politics. He graduated from Marshall University.

He was first elected to the state Senate in 2012, and won reelection in 2016. That same year, Carmichael was named the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in more than 83 years when the GOP took over control of the Statehouse. In 2017, he was named Senate President-Lieutenant Governor.

In 2018 and 2019, Carmichael drew heavy criticism from educators and school service personnel across the state during teacher strikes. He was a proponent of establishing charter schools in the state, and protesters — regularly chanting “Ditch Mitch” outside chamber doors — accused him of not listening to educators when it came to the legislation.

During the 2020 legislative session, Carmichael failed to rally his party behind three pieces of key legislation for Republicans: forming an Intermediate Court of Appeals, eliminating the tax on manufacturing equipment and ending greyhound racing in the state. All bills failed to pass the Legislature, with Republicans crossing party lines for all three.

In November’s general election, Grady will face off against Bruce Ashworth, who won the Democratic nomination unopposed Tuesday.

Reach Joe Severino at, 304-348-4814 or follow @jj_severino on Twitter.

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