MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — First-time voters, long-time voters, politicians, and their supporters are making their voices heard.
“Education, fire and foremost, is an important issue to me,” said first-time voter Steven Murphy, a Morgantown resident. “I think that the state of education in West Virginia needs to be repaired and more funds need to be allocated towards it. That’s a big issue for me.”
Murphy said his primary interest is in statewide races, but those priorities are why he directly cited support for Democratic candidates for House of Delegates — incumbents Barbara Evans Fleischauer and John Williams and newcomer Danielle Walker.
“I think that a lot of their policy focuses are similar to mine,” he said. “A lot of our interests align in politics. That’s why I’m focusing on voting for them and supporting them.”
Some local races, like Board of Education, are non-partisan — meaning its not just Primary Election Day. But many voters remain laser focused on the Republican U.S. Senate Primary.
“I’m registered independent,” said Nita Hobbs of Monongalia County. “So I decided to vote a Republican ticket so I can vote against Blankenship.”
The Senate Primary is open to Republicans and Independents. Hobbs said her vote mattered most in this primary, in an effort to stop Blankenship from winning the nomination to the U.S. Senate for one major reason.
“His criminal record,” Hobbs said.
Marcus Hobbs also cited similar reasons for choosing to vote against Don Blankenship.
“Just the coal mines,” he said. “The way he behaved, the way he acted, his history.”
Blankenship was reportedly experiencing a surge of support entering into the last throes of the Election. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey increased his attacks on Blankenship during the campaign’s final hours.
Additionally, President Donald Trump also suggested Republican primary voters should steer clear of Blankenship and “remember Alabama,” citing the defeat of former judge Roy Moore.
Elsewhere, even some of those with the least to worry about this Primary Election Day are trying to raise their profile. Former State Senator, Congressional candidate, and now Republican State Senate candidate Mike Oliverio spent time in Fairmont and Morgantown with his supporters in hopes of raising his profile ahead of November’s general election.
“Every area has to play to its strengths,” he said. “We have to water our flowers. We have to identify those things that are working and invest in those. That’s what’s important.”
Oliverio will face incumbent State Senator Bob Beach, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary in Monongalia County.
Polls close at 7:30 Tuesday night. Join MetroNews for our coverage of Decision 2018 beginning at 7:06 p.m Tuesday.