The election season is upon us

It appears as if there will be a lot of action during this year’s election, although most of it will be waiting until November.

Elections are always an interesting time for journalists, trying to keep track of who is running, what they are saying and, of course, the results as Election Day comes and goes.

In Hancock and Brooke counties, there will be a good mix of individuals running for office, with a handful of challengers facing off against some of the incumbent office holders.

The position of Hancock County clerk, for example, will officially see someone new following last year’s retirement of Eleanor Straight.

George Foley, a Democrat appointed by the county commission to temporarily fill the office, will be running against Republican challenger Michael “Freddie” Capito for the full term.

Out of the few local races to be determined during the May primary is the Hancock County commission seat held now by Dan Greathouse. Greathouse will face off against fellow Democrat Joe Barnabei.

Four individuals, meanwhile, are vying for three non-partisan school board seats in the county, with incumbents Laura Greathouse, John Manypenny and Toni Hinerman facing a challenge from Michelle Chappell.

Brooke County Commissioner Norma Tarr faces a challenge from Stacey Hukill Wise. Both are Democrats.

Brooke County’s school board election, on the other hand, has its three incumbents – Chad Haught, James Lazear and Frank Ujcich – running unopposed, meaning all three will automatically return to office unless there is a successful write-in campaign mounted.

Even the higher profile races lack the excitement of previous elections, at least for the time being.

Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons, a Democrat, will face a challenge in November from Ryan Ferns, a Delegate from Ohio County who recently switched to the Republican Party, to see who will hold one of two seats to represent the 1st District in the Senate.

In the House, Democrat Phil Diserio will face Republican Ryan Weld for the only 2nd District seat, while the 1st District’s two seats will be filled either by incumbents Randy Swartzmiller and Ronnie Jones, both Democrats, or challengers Mark Zatezalo and Pat McGeehan, both Republicans.

Even our local race for the House of Representatives will have to wait until the fall for any determination as current U.S. Rep. David McKinley will face his challenge from Democrat Glen Gainer III, currently the state auditor, at that time.

Only in the U.S. Senate will our residents see any major campaigning before May, where Democrats Natalie Tennant – currently West Virginia’s secretary of state – will face Dennis Melton of Buckhannon and David Wamsley of Williamstown for the Democratic nomination to Jay Rockefeller’s Senate seat, and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore-Capito will square off against Larry Eugene Butcher of Washington and Matthew Dodrill of Parkersburg for the Republican side of the ticket.

I often hear people talk about wanting to see change. They shout out about electing new people to the offices because they are unhappy with the results we currently receive.

This year will see how people really feel.

The first phase of any election is to have individuals willing to run for office. We have that in a few races on each level of government.

The next phase is for you, the voters, to do your research. Listen to the candidates, learn their positions on the topics and then make your decision at the ballot box.

It may not be an exciting election, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)