West Virginia primary: 18 running for president, 12 for gov

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Voters in West Virginia’s May 12 primary will need some extra time to study the candidates before going to the ballot box.

The Secretary of State’s office said it has certified the slate of candidates, including 18 for president and 12 for governor. Tuesday was the deadline for the list to be certified.

It’s a whopper, among the biggest ever.

Among the 12 Democrats on the ballot for president are former Vice President Joe Biden, ex-South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, ex-New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg and philanthropist Tom Steyer.

President Donald Trump is among six Republicans on the ballot. Trump won nearly 70% of the state’s vote against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is running for president from the Constitution Party in at least three other states but is not on the ballot in West Virginia. He spent a year in federal prison for misdemeanor safety violations related to a 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine in southern West Virginia.

According to Secretary of State records, the number of presidential candidates matches the 18 who ran in 1988. There were 17 candidates in 2016.

Presidential primaries in West Virginia can be unpredictable. In 2012, Texas inmate Keith Judd won 41 percent of the vote running against President Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.

The 2020 candidates for governor including incumbent Republican Jim Justice and six others from the GOP, along with five Democrats.

One of Justice’s GOP opponents is former Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher, who was forced out by Justice in 2018 after numerous complaints about poor management of a housing assistance program for 2016 flood victims.

The 12 gubernatorial hopefuls are the most since 18 sought the office in 2004.

There also are races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state auditor, treasurer, agriculture commissioner, secretary of state, the state Supreme Court and both houses of the legislature.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito faces two Republican challengers. Former state Sen. Richard Ojeda is among three Democratic candidates.

There are 10 candidates for three Supreme Court races. Two incumbents are seeking office again, while incumbent Justice Margaret Workman is retiring. Judicial elections in West Virginia became nonpartisan in 2016.

Early voting in West Virginia begins April 29. The deadline to register to vote is April 21.

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