The West Virginia House of Delegates race in District 42 concluded in surprising fashion. Democratic incumbents Cindy Lavender-Bowe and Jeff Campbell were unseated by their Republican challengers Barry Bruce and Todd Longanacre. Not only did Bruce win a place in the West Virginia Legislature, he did so convincingly. Of the 27,863 total votes counted, Bruce received 8,214 of them. To put it another way, in a four-way race, Bruce earned just under 30% of the votes.
“I’m rested, and ready to go,” Bruce said. “I’m just blessed. I’m 73-years old. I’ve practiced law here for over 30 years. My children have all grown up here, and I’m excited to have been given the opportunity to give back to our community.”
Bruce also stated that one of his first priorities as a delegate will be the establishment of term limits.
“(Not having term limits) is one of the main reasons we have the problems that we do,” Bruce said.
Todd Longanacre also won big. His 7,426 votes represented 26.65% of the total ballots cast.
“To my knowledge, this is the first time in over 90 years that the entire state has had a supermajority full of pro-Bill of Rights, pro-business Republicans,” Longanacre said.
Despite not being re-elected, Delegate Cindy Lavender-Bowe had kind words for her supporters on Wednesday.
Through a post on social media, Lavender-Bowe said, “Thank you for your support and votes. I appreciate each and every one of you.”
In the race for State Senate in the 10th District, Summers County Commissioner Jack David Woodrum defeated incumbent Senator Bill Laird by a margin of more than 7,000 votes. Woodrum, who had responsibilities to fulfill in his role as county commissioner on election night was not made aware of his victory until returning home.
“I was smiling when I left the courthouse,” Woodrum said. “But I knew there were still a lot of votes to count.”
Woodrum was notified of his win upon pulling into his driveway.
“I feel good,” Woodrum said. “I’ve been very busy all day – haven’t had time to do much. And I still had some county business to take care of. But I feel really good.”
Senator Laird has not yet provided a statement regarding last night’s result. However, on Election Day, Laird posted his closing remarks from his recent debate with Senator-elect Woodrum.
“We shouldn’t be Republicans and Democrats in Charleston. We should be West Virginians working together to help each other,” Laird wrote.