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The Gazette-Mail is endorsing incumbent Mac Warner in the race for West Virginia secretary of state.

Both candidates in this race are highly qualified. Warner’s Democratic opponent, Natalie Tennant, was secretary of state for eight years before losing to Warner in 2016, and, during her tenure, Tennant brought solid progress to the office, especially as it pertained to removing burdens in registering to vote and helping new businesses.

Some will point out that Warner fired more than a dozen employees upon taking office. He faced multiple lawsuits and the state ended up paying millions to settle them. In a recent interview, he said he’d make the same decision again and believes he would have won those cases, had they gone to trial.

Warner did do an excellent job in coordinating mobilization to get absentee ballots out to registered voters in this year’s primary election, after the COVID-19 pandemic presented a public health threat for in-person voting. He’s done a good job doing the same thing for the general election, although we would have preferred to see applications for absentee ballots automatically mailed to voters as they were in the primary, rather than voters having to navigate the ways to obtain a mail-in ballot themselves.

Warner also has acknowledged Russian meddling in U.S. elections, and understands the threat foreign interference poses.

In the race for state auditor, the Gazette-Mail endorses incumbent Republican JB McCuskey over Democratic Party challenger Mary Ann Claytor.

This is another race with two highly qualified candidates. McCuskey has been busy with the West Virginia Supreme Court spending scandal and alleged fraud in Richwood in dealing with flood-recovery money. Claytor, meanwhile, has more than 20 years experience working for the State Auditor’s Office.

The Gazette-Mail also endorses Democrat challenger Bob Beach over incumbent Republican Kent Leonhardt in the race for commissioner of agriculture, and incumbent Democrat John Perdue for treasurer, over Republican challenger Riley Moore.

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