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West Virginia Voters Reelect Gov. Justice, Sen. Capito

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia voters have made their choices amid a packed ballot. At the top of the ballot, state voters favored incumbent Republican President Donald Trump over Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden. A rundown of results on all races:

PRESIDENT

President Donald Trump eased to victory in West Virginia to take its five electoral votes.

He had been widely expected to defeat Democrat Joe Biden in a state that backed him in 2016 with 68% of the vote.

West Virginia has largely abandoned Democratic presidential candidates in recent decades. While Sen. Joe Manchin won reelection as a moderate Democrat in 2018, the last Democrat to win a presidential race in West Virginia was Bill Clinton in 1996.

Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 42 percentage points four years ago, one of his highest margins of victory. Many in the state credit him for his conservative populism and promises to help the declining coal industry, even as few expected he could bring back many jobs.

GOVERNOR

Incumbent Jim Justice became the first Republican elected to back-to-back terms as governor since Arch Moore a half-century ago. Justice defeated Democrat Ben Salango, a Kanawha County commissioner.

Justice received an endorsement from President Donald Trump, who carried West Virginia by a whopping 42 percentage points in 2016. Justice won office as a Democrat in 2016, but switched parties at a rally with Trump the following year.

The governor has held weekly news conferences touting the work of his administration in keeping the number of positive coronavirus cases and deaths low compared with other states, though the numbers have risen lately. That has also helped him tamp down early criticism over a light schedule he was keeping.

Salango had pressed on the governor’s work ethic and tried to persuade voters to view Justice’s performance over his entire term, not the past several months.

U.S. SENATE

Shelley Moore Capito defeated Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin to earn a second six-year term in the U.S. Senate. Capito becomes the first West Virginia Republican to be reelected to the Senate in more than a century.

It’s the second time that Capito, the daughter of former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, faced another woman for a Senate seat. Capito defeated then-Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in 2014, becoming the first woman elected to a U.S. Senate seat in West Virginia. Capito previously served seven terms in the U.S. House and has been a consistent ally of Trump.

Swearengin is a progressive Democrat from a coal-mining family. She supported expanding broadband access, Medicare for all and strengthening workers’ rights.

U.S. HOUSE

Republican incumbents have again swept the three U.S. House races in West Virginia.

Incumbent Republican Rep. David McKinley won a sixth term in northern West Virginia’s 1st District over Democrat Natalie Cline, a software company employee from Wheeling.

GOP Rep. Alex Mooney, who represents the 2nd District across the central part of the state, earned his fourth term. He defeated Democrat Cathy Kunkel, an energy analyst who ran unopposed in the primary.

Republican Rep. Carol Miller of southern West Virginia’s 3rd District defeated Hilary Turner of Huntington to earn her second term.

With West Virginia’s dwindling population, this could be the last race for one of the state’s three Republican U.S. House members. Analysts have projected West Virginia will lose one of its congressional seats after the 2020 census. The state has lost population for seven straight years.

AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER

Republican incumbent Kent Leonhardt won his second term, holding off Democratic state Sen. Bob Beach.

AUDITOR

Incumbent auditor JB McCuskey defeated Democrat Mary Ann Claytor, a former auditor’s office employee who lost to McCuskey in 2016.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Republican incumbent Patrick Morrisey won his third consecutive term, beating labor lawyer Sam Petsonk.

Morrisey has overseen several lawsuits against prescription drug manufacturers that have led to multimillion-dollar settlements for the state. He also sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, accusing it of knowingly employing pedophiles. The lawsuit is currently before the state Supreme Court.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Incumbent Republican Mac Warner defeated Democrat Natalie Tennant in a rematch of the 2016 election. Tennant served two terms as secretary of state before losing to Warner four years ago.

TREASURER

West Virginia’s longest-serving state treasurer, John Perdue, is seeking a seventh term. He faces Republican Riley Moore, a former delegate.

LEGISLATURE

Half of the 34 state Senate seats are up for grabs. Two Republicans have no opposition in the general election. Four senators, including three Democrats, did not seek reelection while three Republican incumbents lost in the June primary. Republicans hold a 20-14 majority.

All 100 House seats are on the ballot. A dozen races are uncontested, including 10 involving Republicans. Twenty-one delegates did not seek reelection and seven incumbents lost in the primaries. Republicans hold a 58-41 House majority with one independent.

Republican Delegate John Mandt, who resigned in early October after homophobic messages attributed to him were circulated online, remains on the ballot in a six-candidate race for three seats in House District 16.

In the Senate, Mason County teacher Amy Nichole Grady, who defeated Senate President Mitch Carmichael in the primary, will take on Democrat Bruce Ashworth, a roofing business employee.

Among other races, Republican Sen. Mike Maroney is awaiting trial on charges that he solicited a prostitute. The Marshall County lawmaker easily defeated a primary challenger in June.

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