CHARLES TOWN – Two of the nine candidates for Jefferson County’s three delegate districts have been eliminated from the running following Tuesday’s primaries.
Incumbent Democrat Tiffany Lawrence has protected her seat against a primary challenge by Rick Shuman in the 65th District, which encompasses Charles Town and Ranson. Lawrence overcame Shuman by a wide margin, defeating him 854 votes to 217.
Lawrence, a public relations manager at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races who is seeking her second term, emphasized her status as an “education guru” in the Legislature. She underlined the need for Eastern Panhandle delegates to work their way onto the leadership of major House committees, and notes that she has been made vice chair of the Political Subdivisions Committee.
Shuman, a businessman and contractor, ran a campaign focused on efforts to spur economic growth. He argued that statewide economic growth should be promoted through reducing business taxes while raising the coal severance tax.
“I am just really honored and delighted by the results,” Lawrence said. “I am very humbled by the support of all my neighbors and friends. I am looking forward to the general (election) and ask the voters for their continued support.”
Lawrence will face Republican Jill Upson in November. Upson, a former retail manager, is running a campaign focused on lowering taxes and reducing regulations in order to spur business growth.
Republican Elliot Simon beat back a primary challenge from Matthew Harris in the race for the 67th District, which encompasses the northern half of the county. Simon overcame Harris convincingly, defeating him 531 votes to 250.
Simon, a semi-retired business executive who lost a general election challenge to veteran Democrat lawmaker John Doyle in 2010, ran his primary campaign promising to work to lower business taxes in order to improve economic growth. He advocates the elimination of business property taxes and business franchise taxes.
Harris ran a low-profile race, neither raising nor spending much money.
Simon now enters a general election matchup against Democratic opponent Stephen Skinner.
Skinner, a prominent local attorney, has emphasized tax reform – including the elimination of the B&O tax if an alternative revenue stream can be found – to promote economic growth.
The race for the 66th District between Independent Fred Blackmer, Democrat John Maxey and Republican Paul Espinosa will be a three-way contest through the general election provided Blackmer garners enough signatures. Blackmer says the secretary of state’s office has not been able to calculate the number of signatures that will be needed for him to get on the ballot.