Published November 5, 2020
The 2020 general election in West Virginia saw President Donald Trump open up a huge victory (+39%) over former Vice President Joe Biden. President Trump won in every single county in West Virginia wherein all but four counties he won by a margin of more than 20 points. He increased his vote totals from the 2016 cycle from 489,371 total votes to 539,692. Joe Biden outpaced Hillary Clinton's vote total from 2016 from 188,794 to 232,610. Turnout for the general election was the largest on record. As of the time of this summary, Trump trails Biden nationally in the electoral college with 214 electoral votes to Biden's 264. The Biden Campaign has urged patience and is expecting to be declared the winner in Nevada later today. Biden currently leads the vote count in Nevada by a .6% margin which, if it holds, will get him to the elusive 270 electoral votes needed to declare overall victory in the race. For his part, President Trump has alleged impropriety in the vote tallying process and signaled he will ask for a recount in Wisconsin. The Trump campaign maintains that the race was called too early in Arizona and has filed lawsuits to stop any further votes being counted in Michigan and Pennsylvania demanding access to monitor the process and excluding mail in ballots postmarked on election day. While we may have a very clear indication of who will be the next president of the United States later today, the final result could still take days or even weeks to be fully resolved.
In the race for Governor, Republican Jim Justice defended a challenge from Democrat Ben Salango by a margin of +35 points. Justice too won every county increasing his own 2016 vote total from 350,408 to 492,825. Justice won the race for Governor in 2016 running as a Democrat.
West Virginia's 5 elected constitutional officers will now all be Republicans. Agricultural Commissioner Kent Leonhardt easily held off a challenge by Democrat Senator Bob Beach. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey handily defeated his democratic challenger Sam Petsonk. Auditor JB McCuskey retained his seat over Democrat Mary Ann Claytor. Secretary of State Mac Warner bested his challenger, former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and perhaps the largest upset of this cycle, former republican delegate Riley Moore defeated current State Treasurer John Perdue by +13 points. Perdue has served as State Treasurer since 1997. Riley Moore is the nephew of United States Senator, Shelley Moore Capito.
In the West Virginia State Senate, Republicans picked up three seats increasing their majority from 20 to 23 of the 34 seats in the Senate. Notably, the 7th district seat (including parts of Mingo, Wayne, Logan, Lincoln, and Boone counties) which will be vacated by Senator Paul Hardesty (D) was won by former republican delegate Rupie Phillips. The open seat in the 17th district (eastern and southern portions of Kanawha County) which will be vacated by Senator Corey Palumbo (D) was won by current Delegate Eric Nelson (R-35th). Senator-elect Nelson bested current Delegate Andrew Robinson (D-36th) for the seat. And finally, Senator Doug Facemire (D-12th) (which runs along the I-79 Corridor from Clay to Marion County) was defeated by current Delegate Patrick Martin (R-46th). Senator-elect Amy Grady (R-4th) easily won her general election to the seat formerly occupied by current Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-4th) whom she unseated during the primary election in the spring. The newly elected Senate will likely begin jockeying for leadership positions and committee assignments in the coming days and weeks. All candidates for the West Virginia Senate that were endorsed by the West Virginia Bankers Association were successful in their elections.
In the House of Delegates, Republicans picked up a whopping 18 additional seats stretching their current majority from 58 republicans, 41 democrats and 1 independent, to 76 Republicans and 24 Democrats. Democrats proved unable to flip a single republican seat. In the coming weeks a new slate of leaders for both parties will emerge in the House and a new banking Chair for the House Banking and Insurance Committee which will be vacated by Senator-elect Eric Nelson and a new Chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee which will be open with the retirement of Chairman John Shott (R-27th) will be appointed. The West Virginia Bankers Association endorsed thirty eight (38) candidates in the general election for the House of Delegates and all but five (5) of them were successful in their race.
Please do not hesitate to contact Loren C. Allen, General Counsel and Director of Government Relations for the West Virginia Bankers Association at 304-343-8838 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or concerns about the 2020 general election in West Virginia.