AND THEN AGAIN……… Tamara Pettit

The filing period is over for the 2024 election and the candidates are off and running.   Those candidates who have competition that is…..and that was reduced by one race this week.  Jon Phillips, a former Weirton policeman, had filed to run against incumbent Ralph Fletcher for division      Magistrate seat.   Fletcher who just had shoulder surgery this week and has had other health issues decided to withdraw from the race.    Since the deadline to file has passed, Phillips finds himself without an opponent.   Omeka Petteway had no candidate file for division so her race is unopposed.   The only opposed Magistrate race left is incumbent Steve Svokas who is challenged by Miranda Keeder who is currently employed as a probation officer.

…..While first district delegate Pat McGeehan will have no opponent, the same can’t be said of second district delegate Mark Zatezalo (r-2) who has 2 challengers for the seat.    I predict Zatezalo will have some problematic issues that may lose him some  votes he previously had.  The portion of Weirton that sits in Hancock County was left out when the racetrack video lottery net terminal funds split the 2 % down the middle giving 1 % to New Cumberland and to Chester are now receiving has to hurt if you’re a voter.   Zatezalo’s reputation of not returning messages from constituents, even when they represent a constituency like teachers , is a definite vote killer.

……But the race of the election promises to be the Sheriff’s race.  I was surprised when Deszo Polgar filed against Gittings, but then when I thought about it I wasn’t.  Deszo cuts a wide swath of territory.  Born in Weirton, he was a New Cumberland Policeman, a Hancock Deputy, and the school resource officer at Oak Glen High.  An EMT, for years Deszo owned and operated New Cumberland Ambulance Service and is widely known for that business.  He is well known and well liked.  Deszo is a Democrat, but not having to face a challenger until November will give him additional time to campaign.

……Looks like no competition for the Board of Education race.  Wonder if the transition from the House of Delegates to the Board of Education will be a difficult one for Randy Swartzmiller.  No floor speeches.  I know when I transitioned to covering meetings instead of participating in them, when a matter was brought to a vote, I would start to vote too.

…….Hancock County Commission has a new Finance Director, Ira Arpich, who previously worked for the State Auditor’s Office.  He has a bachelor’s in Accounting from WVU.  He replaces Karen LaScola, who left to assume the Magistrate Assistant  for Ralph Fletcher.    Fletcher’s assistant Elaine Hyatt was appointed as Magistrate Clerk when long-time Clerk, Tamera Smith, retired with 40 years of service.  In a day where people don’t often remain at the place or job, Smith  is the exception.   She was 19 when she came to the Magistrate’s office, first as assistant to Tommy Bellanco, then Mickey Mallas.  She then served as assistant Magistrate Clerk before becoming full-time Clerk  when Mary Loucas retired.

…….It’s typically West Virginia, that the Governor’s race has three candidates with relatives who are big time politicos.  Patrick Morrisey, a New Jersey native, took a hit on the other candidates for being political royalty.  Moore Capito is Sen. Shelly Moore Capito’s son, Chris Miller is Congressman Carol Miller’s grandson; and Mac Warner is one of the three brothers who run for positions on a regular basis.  Miller got the biggest laugh of the evening when he pointed out that it’s obvious that Morrisey is not from West Virginia “where you don’t talk about someone’s Momma!”

…….An update on my issue with CostcoCiticard issue.   I have yet to get the letter stating that Bill did not owe a membership fee automatically charged to him after he was dead.  I have however, received another bill.   I’ve decided to also turn the matter to the Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Office.

…..The 2024 Legislative Session is 50% over.  While the first half of the 60-day session is taken up with budget hearings and prep work on bills, now things will start to move quickly and some bills will move through picking up amendments as they go in those late night sessions.   This practice prompted former House Speaker Clyde See to say “Fat possums travel late at night.”