Could be runoff in Raleigh County circuit judge race

BECKLEY, W.Va. — The race for a circuit judgeship in Raleigh County may be going to a runoff.

There were five candidates in Tuesday’s race to replace longtime Circuit Judge H.L. Kirkpatrick who announced earlier this year he would not be seeking reelection after nearly 30 years on the bench.

A newer section of state code that created non-partisan judicial races with no primaries says that if a winning candidate fails to pick-up 30% of the vote there has to be a runoff between the top two finishers.

Beckley attorney Rusty Wooton finished first in the five-candidate race but he was just under 30%. If the totals stay the same during vote canvassing and the certification process, Wooton would have to face Michael Frobel in a November runoff.

Raleigh County voters chose state lawmaker Todd Kirby in the other judicial race. Delegate Kirby was running unopposed for the seat after Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge Robert Burnside announced last fall that he also wouldn’t be seeking reelection.

Burnside recently put in his resignation before the end of his term. The state panel that helps fill judicial vacancies is taking applications.

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