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West Virginia House of Delegates Redistricting

The West Virginia Legislature is in the process of drawing legislative and congressional districts that will take effect for the 2022 election cycle. The proposed district map for the West Virginia House of Delegates has at least nine primary races in which incumbent delegates would run against each other in 2022. 

With a fresh set of legislative lines drawn over West Virginia, a fresh set of races between incumbent members of the House of Delegates is taking shape.

While the final lines aren’t drawn, the first draft of the House district map puts at least 18 delegates in nine primary races in 2022.

If they win their primary races, four other incumbent delegates could face each other in the 2022 general election.

Delegate Kayla Young, D-Kanawha, provided the Gazette-Mail with a version of the proposed House map that includes delegates’ residences, showing that, in addition to the incumbent challenges, there are at least 15 proposed districts that have no incumbents at all.

Young herself is pitted in a district against House Minority Leader Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha. In the email to the Gazette-Mail, which included a breakdown of the races, Young said she plans to move out of the proposed district.

Skaff is the president of HD Media, parent company of the Gazette-Mail.

Leaders in the West Virginia Legislature have said they anticipate that Gov. Jim Justice will call a special legislative session next week for lawmakers to complete their work redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts.

There are four Democrat vs. Democrat primary elections, and five primary races in which Republican incumbents would be running against one another.

For Republicans, starting in the Eastern Panhandle, the proposed map would put Delegate Ken Reed, R-Berkeley, against Delegate George Miller, R-Morgan.

In the north-central part of the state, Delegate Chris Phillips, R-Barbour, would run against Delegate Carl Martin, R-Upshur, and Delegate Terri Sypolt, R-Preston, would run against Delegate Rolland Jennings, R-Preston.

The new map shows at least one race that would involve three delegates from Wood County Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood, against Delegate John Kelly, also R-Wood.

The map also indicates that Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason, would run against Delegate Shannon Kimes, R-Wood, but Kimes said his residence is not located in the same proposed district as Pinson.

In an email to the Gazette-Mail, Kimes said he believes his mailing address was used in Young's draft map, which incorrectly placed him in the same district as Kimes. Pinson said his actual residence is in the proposed District 54, which includes parts of Mason and Jackson counties and is separate from the district that Pinson would be in.

Criss and Kelly are two of the three delegates who currently represent House District 10. Delegate Roger Conley, R-Wood, who also represents District 10, would not face any incumbent challengers.

Pinson represents the 13th House District with Delegate Joshua Higginbotham, R-Putnam, who previously announced that he will run for the state Senate in 2022.

For Democrats, in addition to Skaff versus Young, there’s a district that would put Delegate Chad Lovejoy, D-Cabell, against Delegate Ric Griffith, D-Wayne. In Kanawha County, Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, would run against Delegate Jim Barach, D-Kanawha.

The fourth Democrat-incumbent primary is in the Northern Panhandle, where Delegate Dave Pethtel, D-Wetzel, and Delegate Lisa Zukoff, D-Marshall, would face-off in May 2022.

If they win their primary races, Delegate John Doyle, D-Jefferson, and Delegate John Hardy, R-Berkeley, would face one another, and Delegate Phil Mallow, R-Marion, and Delegate Joey Garcia, D-Marion, would run against each other. Garcia and Mallow currently serve in the 50th House District together.

Whether there are similar potential incumbent races in the Senate remains to be seen, as the Senate Redistricting Committee continues its work this week. The committee is set to reconvene Wednesday to work on West Virginia’s two-district congressional map.

House Redistricting Committee Chairman Gary Howell, R-Mineral, has not announced when that committee will next meet.

Among the vacant districts on the new map are three new districts in Martinsburg, and another that includes parts of Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry.

There are two districts in Putnam County with no incumbent, one including Hurricane and another including Buffalo.

Other districts without incumbents exist in Wyoming County, Preston County, central Cabell County, Phillipi, Clarksburg, Mineral Wells, Star City in Morgantown, part of southern Parkersburg and a portion of Fairmont.

The House of Delegates, for the first time, is considering a map with 100 single-member districts, moving away from the existing map that includes 67 districts, many with multiple members.

The Legislature passed a bill in 2018 to adopt the 100-member map.

For more information about the proposed legislative and congressional maps and to leave feedback about the maps, visit www.wvlegislature.gov/ redistricting.cfm.

Correction: This story has been updated to add comments from Delegate Shannon Kimes. Kimes said while his mailing address is in one proposed district in Wood County, his residence is in another part of Wood County and in a different district from that of Delegate Jonathan Pinson.

Lacie Pierson covers politics. She can be reached at 304-348-1723 or lacie

.pierson@hdmediallc.com. Follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

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