Three incumbents, including Karnes, knocked out of state Senate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senator Robert Karnes, who had a reputation for controversial statements, was defeated in a Republican primary matchup by longtime Delegate Bill Hamilton.

With all precincts reporting in the sprawling 11th Senatorial District, Hamilton had 5,787 votes to Karnes’ 3,749. Hamilton will take on Democrat Laura Finch, an attorney, in the fall.

Hamilton was better funded and had drawn support from state labor organizations. It was unclear how that would translate to the Republican primary, but he wound up beating Karnes by a broad margin.

And incumbent state senators Lynn Arvon of Raleigh County and Mark Drennan of Putnam County, who were named to their seats for this past legislative session, have lost their primary bids.

Drennan, who had been named to a seat occupied for many years by Mike Hall, was defeated by Putnam County resident Eric Tarr. Tarr, a businessman, had also served in recent years as a volunteer assistant to state Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns.

With all precincts reporting, Tarr had 4,615 votes to Drennan’s 3,686. Both are Republicans.

The candidate on the Democratic side of the district, Brian Prim, was unopposed in the primary.

Arvon, a Republican incumbent from Beckley, was defeated Tuesday evening by candidate Rollan Roberts.

With all the precincts in the 9th Senatorial District reporting, Roberts had 3,346 votes to Arvon’s 2,984.

Roberts will face Democrat Bill Wooton in the fall. Wooton faced three Democratic challengers.

In the 6th Senatorial District, incumbent Sen. Mark Maynard of Wayne County has defeated challenger Wesley Blankenship. With almost all precincts reporting, Maynard had 61 percent to 39 percent.

There were several contested races to take on incumbent senators.

Democrat Richard Lindsay defeated former lawmaker Mark Hunt to take on incumbent Senator Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, in the general election.

Democrat Terrell Ellis beat Mary Ann Claytor and Dick Salisbury to take on incumbent Senator Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha.

And George “Boogie” Ambler beat Dan Hill, both Republicans, to take on incumbent Senator Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier.


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