Candidates comment on election

By Kyle Lovern -

Kyle Lovern/WDN Photo “Big” Jim Hatfield is shown looking at some of the vote totals as they came in on Tuesday night after the polls closed. Hatfield squeaked by challenger Yogi Croaff by 19 votes.

Thomas Taylor

Sabrina Deskins

The May Primary election is over and several hotly contested races were decided on Tuesday night after the final votes were counted. The final tallies were released by county employees around 10 p.m. in the crowded basement area of the Mingo County Courthouse.

Things should settle down now that many Mingo County politicians have either won nominations, or been defeated in the Primary Election process.

There were several interesting races for various positions in the courthouse and state offices in Charleston.

Young challenger Thomas Taylor upset incumbent County Commissioner John Mark Hubbard. Hubbard has served in that position for several years.

Taylor said this about his big win on Tuesday: “First and foremost I want to thank God for this opportunity. I know I had a lot of prayers going up during this election. Secondly, I want to thank the people of Mingo County. I am so proud to call this place my home. The voter turnout was great, and I will do my best to make Mingo County proud. And lastly, I want to thank my family and my friends. Unless you run for office you will never know the roller coaster ride that is ‘politics,’ and they supported me until the end. I’m excited to get to work in January. We have a lot of challenges ahead, but I can promise you I will give it my all.”

Yogi Croaff lost in a very close race to longtime political figure “Big” Jim Hatfield by just 19 votes. Hatfield is a former County Commissioner.

“I just want to let everyone know that I am grateful and humbled for all their support,” said Croaff, a longtime court marshal and security guard at the courthouse.

Incumbent House of Delegate Justin Marcum (D-WV 20th District) held off a strong challenger in Ronnie Blankenship.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support from the voters of the 20th District. Without God, my family, and friends, none of this would be possible. I am blessed beyond belief and look forward to continuing to fight for the area. I also commend every other candidate who won and will work tirelessly with them,” Marcum stated.

Teresa McCune, who ran second in a 3-person race for Mingo County Circuit Judge said, “I hope the numbers in this election signal the end of old time factional politics in Mingo County. Congratulations to everyone who ran, the people of this county deserve to be able to make good choices.”

Miki Thompson, the incumbent, finished first, while Robert Carlton came in third. McCune is a longtime attorney at the Public Defender’s office, while Carlton, another local lawyer, is currently mayor of the city of Williamson.

Sabrina Deskins won the race to return as Family Court Judge in Mingo County. She defeated Tonya Mounts in a hotly contested race. Deskins had this statement on her victory, “I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of those who have supported me for the past several months, but to be honest there are no words to truly express how much I appreciate each and every one of you. The love and unwavering support from all of you has been overwhelming. To those who helped on the campaign trail, friends, family and even strangers, the hard work and effort you put into this campaign leaves me speechless. To those of you who cast a vote in my favor, you have shown me you believe that I can continue to do a great job as your family court judge.”

Gilbert Mayor Vivian Livingood lost in the race for the 21st District House of Delegate seat to Phyllis White. “After getting some rest, I feel wonderful. I am so thankful to all of you for your words of encouragement and support. I feel honored that you believed in me and my work ethic, my will to help people, and trying to make a difference in our area. I will never forget those of you that came up to me and offered words of wisdom and support,” Livingood said.

Last year, White was appointed to fill the seat after her husband Harry Keith White resigned as a longtime delegate.

Former Sheriff Lonnie Hannah won a 4-person race for the Circuit Clerk’s job. He will replace Grant Preece who is retiring at the end of his term. Hannah stated this comment on Facebook after winning the nomination, “Thank you to all my Family and friends for your support and hard work during this campaign. I appreciate each of you. Thanks to you the voters who came out to vote and voice your opinions for change in our county. God bless our county.”

Incumbent Mingo County Sheriff James Smith defeated two candidates who challenged him for his job. Smith got more votes that Delbarton Police Chief Earl Spence and Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair. “I want to thank the citizens of Mingo County who worked hard and supported me. I greatly appreciate everything. I am so humbled to get the Democratic nomination.”

The official canvass of votes will be held Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the election room located in the basement at the Mingo County Courthouse.

(Editor’s Note: The Williamson Daily News welcomes more candidates to send in comments on their specific races. Those comments can be e-mailed to the address below.)

(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for Civitas Medias Mountain Distric including the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)

Kyle Lovern/WDN Photo “Big” Jim Hatfield is shown looking at some of the vote totals as they came in on Tuesday night after the polls closed. Hatfield squeaked by challenger Yogi Croaff by 19 votes. Lovern/WDN Photo “Big” Jim Hatfield is shown looking at some of the vote totals as they came in on Tuesday night after the polls closed. Hatfield squeaked by challenger Yogi Croaff by 19 votes.

Thomas Taylor Taylor

Sabrina Deskins Deskins

By Kyle Lovern


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