OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. — Challenger William Ihlenfeld has defeated incumbent – and State Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns -- in the race for the West Virginia Senate District 1 seat.
Surrounded by a large crowd, Ihlenfeld said there's much work to be done.
"I had so much help,” Ihlenfeld said. “I had so many volunteers help me from February to November. We knocked on a ton of doors, wrote a lot of postcards, made a lot of phone calls, we waved at cars on street corners until our hands almost fell off. We put a lot of time and effort into this, and it’s just wonderful to be able to pull this out.”
So, what are his plans?
“Before I go to Charleston in January, I want to sit down with some of the key constituents that are important to me in Charleston,” Ihlenfeld said. “Educators, for example. I’m going to form an Educator’s Council. I committed to that from Day 1, so I’m going to bring together teachers and school service personnel. I’m going to talk to them before I got to Charleston in January to make sure I understand what the important issues are. It’s just not compensation, it’s just not PEIA, it’s many other things that we need to talk about.
“I’m going to meet with organized labor. I’m going to meet with law enforcement. I hope to meet with healthcare officials just to make sure that I understand what is important to them to best represent them in Charleston. So, there is a lot of work to be done before I go there. I’m looking forward to doing the work of this Valley. That’s why I ran, to make the Ohio Valley a better place to live and raise a family, and so now I have that opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Ferns was elected to the seat in 2014.
House of Delegates
Erikka Storch and Shawn Fluharty retained their spots on the District 3 House of Delegates, beating out challengers Republican Dalton Haas and Democrat Ben Schneider.
Ohio County Commission
Attorney Don Nickerson will take current president Orphy Klempa’s seat on the Ohio County Commission after winning by 10 percent of the vote (55-45).
Public Safety Building levy
First-responders in Wheeling were asking the public to vote yes on a $15-year, $22 million Public Safety Building levy.
While it did drum up significant sport – 54 percent were for it – it wasn’t enough. Sixty percent was needed for it to pass.
“It’s an absolute shame that in West Virginia, a levy can get 54 percent of the vote but still not pass,” Wheeling Vice Mayor Chad Thalman said. “Here in West Virginia, cities need 60 percent to pass a levy. Our first responders deserve this building. To say this is a disappointment is an absolute understatement. Our first responders keep us safe. We need to provide them the equipment and the building they need.”