–The exact voter turnout total won’t be official for another day or two, but it is almost definite that this year’s primary turnout numbers will be historically low. No West Virginia statewide election in the past 20 years has drawn less than 24 percent of the registered voters, but this year’s turnout may be as low as 17 percent. From 1974-2002, only one Primary Election in a non-presidential year drew fewer than 32 percent (1986 with 26 percent). The last two off-year Primaries have started a descending trend, as the voter turnout was 26 percent in 2006 and 24 percent in 2010. And that number continued to drop this year, as it is seemingly going to be below 20 percent
–Why did former Maryland state senator Alex Mooney win the Republican nomination in West Virginia’s Second Congressional District? The answer is widespread support. Mooney was the leading vote getter in 15 of the district’s 17 counties. The only two counties Mooney didn’t win were Kanawha, which tilted by a slim number to Charleston lawyer Charlotte Lane, and Morgan, which favored Berkeley Springs resident Ken Reed. All the other 15 went for Mooney, and that broad support allowed him to easily win a race many viewed as very close prior to the votes being cast.
–The same story was told in the Democratic Primary for the Second Congressional District, as Nick Casey was the leading vote getter in each of the 17 counties, thus defeating Meshea Poore, 60 percent to 40 percent.
–Democrat Natalie Tennant and Republican Shelley Moore Capito each easily won their primaries in their bids to become a U.S. Senator representing West Virginia. How easy? Despite the fact that each had two challengers in their respective primary races, both dominated the field, as Tennant earned 78 percent of the Democratic vote and Capito finished with 87 percent of the Republican vote. Both were the leading vote getters in every one of the 55 counties.
–Nick Joe Rahall again won the Democratic nomination for West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. Rahall won the nomination with 66 percent of the vote to outdistance his challenger, Richard Ojeda. Rahall has often run unopposed in recent Primaries–he didn’t have an opponent in the Democratic Primary in 2012, 2008 and 2004. But in the most recent Primary challenge he faced, his victory was nearly the same as this year, as he defeated Bruce Barilla 67.5 percent to 32.5 percent in 2010.
–At least five current members of the Legislature failed to win renomination Tuesday. Democrat Senator Sam Cann lost to Michael Romano in the 12th. On the House side, Democrat Tim Kinsey in the 19th, Mark Hunt in the 36th, Ron Fragale in the 48th and Republican Larry Kump in the 59th all finished out of the running. At least one more incumbent could also fall. Our unofficial results in the 24th show Democrat Rupie Phillips tied with Ted Tomblin for the second and final position.
–From the oldest to the youngest. Former state Senator and House of Delegates member Frank Deem from Wood County won the Republican nomination in Wood County’s 10th district. Deem, 86, was elected to the Legislature the first time in 1954. Meanwhile, 17-year-old Saira Blair won the Republican Party’s nomination in the 59th district.
(Editor’s note: Greg Hunter contributed to this commentary. HK)