The 2012 race for Jefferson County’s three magistrate seats will be a contest between seven candidates. All three currently serving magistrates are seeking re-election.
They are being challenged by three Republicans and one Democrat.
All incumbents in the Magistrate race are Democrats.
Gail C. Boober of Kearneysville is the longest-serving current incumbent. She has sat on the bench for almost 30 years, having first been elected in 1985. Mary Paul Rissler of Charles Town has served as Magistrate since she was first elected in 1994. William “Bill” E. Senseney of Harpers Ferry has sat on the bench for 12 years.
Three Republicans are challenging the incumbents: William “Bill” Arnicar of Ranson, Peter Onoszko of Charles Town, and Ronald “Ronnie” Bell of Charles Town.
A fourth Democrat, Wendy Torelli of Charles Town, is also a challenger in the race.
Magistrates in West Virginia serve four-year terms, during which they are charged with issuing warrants, setting bail, hearing misdemeanor cases and small civil suits, conducting preliminary investigations into felony cases.
Magistrates are required to be 21 years old, and no two members of the same immediate family can serve as magistrates. They must have a high school diploma and must take “a course of instruction in rudimentary principles of law and procedure” along with biannual continuing education courses, though they are not required to have a degree in law.
The annual salaries of magistrates in counties with a population of over 8,000 stood at $37,000 until 2003. The salaries have been raised three times since then, and now stand at $57,500 annually.