CHARLES TOWN — Independent candidate Fred Blackmer has pulled out of the race for the 66th delegate district, leaving that race a two-way contest between a Republican and a Democrat.
Blackmer had been the only independent delegate candidate in the state, though five candidates from the Green Party-affiliated Mountain Party have made the ballot in other counties. All other candidates on the ballot for all state-level offices are either Republicans or Democrats. While two other delegate candidates had indicated they would be running as independents, one chose to affiliate with the Republican Party, the other with the Mountain Party.
To appear on the ballot as an independent candidate, a prospective delegate is required to submit a number of signatures equal to 1 percent of those cast in the prior delegate election to the Secretary of State by Aug. 1.
In an email, Blackmer said he had gathered the necessary signatures but had decided not to submit them to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office. He added that he has moved out of the county. He did not elaborate further on his reasons.
With Blackmer’s departure, citizens of the 66th district – which mostly encompasses areas south and west of Charles Town and Ranson, but also includes the areas surrounding Shannondale and Shenandoah Junction – will choose between Republican Paul Espinosa and Democrat John Maxey.