CHARLESTON – Incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin has held off a challenge from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate.
Manchin took 50 percent of the vote. Morrisey had 46 percent, and Libertarian Rusty Hollen had 4 percent. Manchin led Morrisey by more than 21,000 votes.
Speaking to supporters in Charleston, Manchin said never has a senator won an election after a sitting president won a state by such a large margin two years earlier. President Trump won West Virginia by 42 points in 2016.
“I never expected this race to be the national race it turned out to be,” Manchin said. “I never expected President Trump to come to the state like he did, also sending Vice President Pence and sending his family. And you stood tall.
“What you, what West Virginia said loud and clear tonight is, ‘Mr. President, we want our senator, not your senator.’”
Manchin also addressed others across the state.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am to stand as tall with you, West Virginia,” he said. “Democrats, Republican, Independent … I will work for all of you, whether you voted for me or someone else. We have to stop this toxic rhetoric that has divided the United States.
“And, I want to say this to every state legislator, to the governor and everyone on down in state politics … start acting like a West Virginian!”
In his concession speech, Morrisey said he doesn’t regret his decision to run against Manchin despite falling a little short. And he said he’ll continue to fight for West Virginia as Attorney General.
“For the last 16 months, we’ve been taking on that fight every single day,” Morrisey said of the campaign. “And as attorney general, we’ve gone after the tough fights. We’ve been able to go after federal overreach. I fought back. I went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I won.
“We have a great record fighting opioids, and we’re going to continue doing that during the remainder of my term. I think we have to do more. We’ve advanced your conservative values. West Virginia is a conservative state.
“Tonight, we may have fallen a little short in our battle for the U.S. Senate. I’m looking forward to talking to Senator Manchin and helping him do whatever is possible to help West Virginia. We have a senator who loves West Virginia with all of his heart and soul. I love West Virginia with all of my heart and soul.
“I don’t regret this campaign. I think we are lifting up the spirits of West Virginia. And when I get back to my office as your attorney general, you’re going to see a lot of activity and activism as I keep fighting for West Virginia.”
In one of two state Supreme Court races, appointed Justice Evan Jenkins cruised to victory, leading second-place Dennise Renee Smith by a 36-14 margin in the 10-person race. That race is for the seat given up by former Justice Robin Jean Davis, and six years remains on that term.
In the other Supreme Court race, appointed Justice Tim Armstead led Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit 26-22 percent in the 10-person race. That race is for the seat given up by former Justice Menis Ketchum, and two years remains on that term.
In the battles for the state’s three seats in the House of Representatives, Republicans won each race.
Incumbents David McKinley and Alex Mooney won the First and Second District races, respectively. McKinley was leading West Virginia University law professor Kendra Fershee by a 64-36 margin. Mooney led Talley Sergent 54-43 with Mountain Party candidate Danny Lutz grabbing 3 percent.
In the hotly contested Third District race, Republican House of Delegates member Carol Miller was leading state Senator Richard Ojeda 56-44.
An amendment to the state Constitution to give the Legislature more oversight on the state Supreme Court budget was headed for victory with 75 percent of voters supporting the amendment.
The other amendment on the ballot that would clarify language to show there is no state constitutional right to abortion. It passed passing by a 52-48 margin.
In the state Senate, Majority Leader Ryan Ferns lost to former U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld, a Democrat, by a 54-46 margin in their Northern Panhandle battle. Attorney Richard Lindsay defeated incumbent Republican Ed Gaunch in Kanawha County, where incumbent Republican Tom Takubo held on to narrowly defeated Democrat Terrell Ellis.
In the House of Delegates, incumbent and newly named House Majority Leader Riley Moore lost in Jefferson County. He and fellow GOP incumbent Jill Upson lost to John Doyle and Sammi Brown, respectively.
* Incumbent Republicans Jill Upson and Riley Moore lost their House seats in Jefferson County to Sammi Brown and John Doyle, respectively.
In other statehouse races:
* Putnam County businessman Eric Tarr, who defeated incumbent Mark Drennan in the Republican primary, held off attorney Brian Prim for a Senate seat.
* Incumbent Republican Charlotte Lane lost in the race for her House seat to Democrat Doug Skaff Jr. in Kanawha County.
* Incumbent Republican Mark Zatezalo lost in the race for his House seat to Democrat Randy Swartzmiller in the Northern Panhandle.
* Incumbent Democrat Scott Brewer lost his race to Republican Scott Cadle for the House in a district covering parts of Jackson, Mason and Putnam counties.
* Incumbent Democrat Ricky Moye lost his House seat to Republican Brandon Steele in Raleigh County.
* Incumbent Democrat Richard Iaquinta lost his House seat in Harrison County to Republican Terry Waxman.
* Incumbent Democrat Dana Lynch lost the House seat covering parts of Nicholas, Randolph, Upshur and Webster Counties to Republican Caleb Hanna.
* Incumbent Republicans Cindy Frich and Joe Statler lost their House seats in Monongalia County to Democrats Evan Hansen and Danielle Walker, respectively.
* Incumbent Republican Guy Ward lost his House seat in Marion County to Michael Angelucci.
And, Democrat Amy Shuler Goodwin won a highly competitive race for Charleston’s mayor against Republican J.B. Akers, who was endorsed by outgoing Mayor Danny Jones.
Charleston attorney Tera Salango won a seat on the Kanawha Circuit Court bench, defeating appointed Judge Dan Greear and Charleston lawyer Gregory Elliott. Salango garnered 63 percent of the vote, and Greear got 28 percent.