The Latest: West Virginia approves abortion amendment

November 7, 2018
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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., right, celebrates his win over Patrick Morrisey for the U.S. Senate seat from West Virginia during an election evening event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, W.V. (F, Brian Ferguson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Latest on the general election in West Virginia (all times local):

12:40 a.m.

West Virginia voters have approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow lawmakers to restrict or outlaw state funding for Medicaid abortions.

The amendment approved Tuesday came after the Republican-led Legislature earlier this year approved a resolution to add a line to the state constitution that reads: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

Opponents say it would put the issue in the hands of the Legislature, which could ban Medicaid-funded abortions in cases of rape, incest or when a woman or girl’s health is at risk.

In 1993, the state Supreme Court struck down a Medicaid funding ban for abortions as unconstitutional.


12:25 a.m.

West Virginia voters have passed a proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers the option of reducing part of the state judiciary’s annual budget.

The ballot measure approved Tuesday allows the Legislature to decide each year whether to reduce the courts’ budget but not less than 85 percent of the previous year’s budget. It also would require the Supreme Court’s chief justice to answer budget questions before lawmakers.

Opponents have said limiting the Supreme Court’s budgetary control would infringe on its independence. The chief justice currently has constitutional autonomy in deciding how the system spends a $139 million annual budget.

During an ongoing impeachment process, some of the justices were accused of abusing this authority by failing to rein in excessive spending.


11:45 p.m.

Democrat Bill Ihlenfeld has unseated West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns.

Ihlenfeld is a former U.S. attorney for West Virginia’s northern district who was endorsed by the West Virginia Federation of Teachers in his first run for political office.

Ferns is a Republican from Ohio County who came under scrutiny during a nine-day teachers strike last winter. At one point Ferns tabled a vote on whether state teachers deserved a 5 percent raise, which they eventually won.

The 35-year-old Ferns served two terms in the Senate.


11:10 p.m.

Former state legislative leader Tim Armstead has won a crowded campaign to keep his seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Armstead and another prominent Republican, ex-Congressman Evan Jenkins, were appointed by GOP Gov. Jim Justice to fill two seats on the state’s highest court until Tuesday’s election. Both Armstead and Jenkins prevailed and will complete the unexpired terms of two former justices caught up in a scandal over spending by the court.

Armstead — a former House of Delegates speaker — defeated seven attorneys and two circuit judges to complete the term of retired Justice Menis Ketchum. The term runs through 2020.

Judicial elections in West Virginia became nonpartisan in 2016, but the court’s turmoil stirred political attacks. Some Democrats argued that the court’s shakeup was a power grab by the Republican-led legislature.


10:50 p.m.

Ex-Congressman Evan Jenkins has been elected to keep the seat he was appointed to on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Jenkins will complete the unexpired term of a former justice caught up in a broader scandal over spending by the court.

The former congressman defeated nine other candidates in Tuesday’s election for the seat on West Virginia’s highest court. They competed for the seat of retired Justice Robin Davis, whose term runs through 2024.

Jenkins and former West Virginia House of Delegates speaker Tim Armstead were appointed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice to fill two seats until Tuesday’s election. Armstead was competing with nine other candidates to complete the term of retired Justice Menis Ketchum.


10:05 p.m.

Republican state lawmaker Carol Miller has won a congressional seat in West Virginia, holding off a strong Democratic challenge in a district Donald Trump dominated two years ago.

Miller defeated Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda in Tuesday’s 3rd District election. Incumbent Republican Evan Jenkins gave up the House seat for an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate. He then was appointed to fill a state Supreme Court seat.

Miller becomes the third woman from West Virginia elected to Congress, where her father also served from Ohio.

He has served in the state House of Delegates since 2007 and is a bison farmer and small-business owner.

She received an endorsement from Trump, who cited her support of coal and gun rights. Trump won the district by nearly 50 percentage points in winning the presidency in 2016.


10:05 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney has won a third term in West Virginia’s 2nd District.

Mooney defeated Democrat Talley Sergent in Tuesday’s election. Sergent is a former Hillary Clinton state presidential campaign director in a state that Republican Donald Trump won in a landslide in 2016 as he ran for president.

Mooney is a former Maryland state senator and state GOP chairman who moved in 2013 about 25 miles from Frederick, Maryland, to Charles Town, West Virginia. He won the 2nd District race in 2014 when seven-term incumbent Republican Shelley Moore Capito won a U.S. Senate seat.

Sergent ran for Congress to fight the opioid epidemic. Her mother has adopted an 11-year-old granddaughter whose mother — Sergent’s sister — is a drug addict.

The district stretches 300 miles from the Ohio River to the Eastern Panhandle.


9:45 p.m.

Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia has turned back a challenge by Republican Patrick Morrisey to win his second full-term in the U.S. Senate in a state carried by President Donald Trump.

Manchin survived the most difficult re-election campaign of his career against the comparative newcomer Morrisey. Manchin is a former governor who has held elected office in West Virginia for the better part of three decades.

Manchin heavily outspent Morrisey and portrayed himself as loyal to his home state rather than party ideology. Manchin was the only Senate Democrat to vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Manchin was critical of Morrisey’s New Jersey roots and his past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Morrisey is a two-term state attorney general and a staunch Trump supporter.


9:15 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. David McKinley has won a fifth term to represent West Virginia’s 1st District.

McKinley defeated Democrat Kendra Fershee in Tuesday’s election.

McKinley has represented the northern West Virginia district since 2011.

The 71-year-old McKinley touted his background as a professional engineer and seventh-generation West Virginian, and efforts to protect jobs and health care for state residents.

Campaign finance records show McKinley outraised Fershee by a 5-to-1 margin.

Fershee is a West Virginia University law professor and associate dean of academic affairs. The first-time candidate and Michigan native said she was turned off by Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign as well as the voting record of McKinley. She said voters want someone in Congress who “is just like them.”


8:40 p.m.

Military service meant a lot to some voters who sided with Democrat Richard Ojeda in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

Ojeda was a 24-year Army veteran before retiring. He’s a first-term state senator who faced House of Delegates member Carol Miller for the U.S. House seat that Rep. Evan Jenkins vacated in order to run for a U.S. Senate seat.

Milton voter Everett Neville preferred Ojeda simply because of his military background.

Darlene Dunfee of Milton says she served in the Air Force in the late 1970s. She says she saw Ojeda’s campaign commercials and liked his personality.


7:45 p.m.

Polls have closed in West Virginia in an election that came two years after voters overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency.

The state’s high-profile U.S. Senate race topped the ballot, which also featured races for U.S. House, the Legislature, the state Supreme Court and two proposed constitutional amendments.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin tried to fend off a challenge from Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The 3rd District U.S. House race pits Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda against Republican state Delegate Carol Miller.

Republican Congressman David McKinley faces West Virginia University law professor Kendra Fershee in the 1st District. In the 2nd District, Congressman Alex Mooney takes on Talley Sergent, the state presidential campaign director for Hillary Clinton in 2016.


4:30 p.m.

Health insurance and the economy were foremost on Roger Malcomb’s mind as he went to vote Tuesday in his West Virginia hometown of Alum Creek in Lincoln County.

A lifelong Democrat, Malcomb typically votes a straight Democratic ticket. This year, he voted for Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, but said he based his vote on individual candidates regardless of party affiliation.

Malcomb blames some of the economic problems in West Virginia on the energy policies of former President Barack Obama, which coincided with a downturn in the coal industry.

He says his hope is with a strong turnout in the election in West Virginia, “maybe we can turn this thing around and get the economy going the right way.”

The 74-year-old retired coal miner wants to see Congress tackle health care next year. He said the government should be responsible for making health care available to all Americans.


10:30 am

President Donald Trump’s agenda is high on the minds of West Virginia voters.

Joseph Hall works for the city of Clarksburg during the week and in the natural gas industry on the weekends. Hall says he likes the president’s job performance and wants to “support him as best as I can” at the polling place.

By contrast, retired state lawmaker Larry Linch said after casting his early ballot last week in Clarksburg that Trump was “a national embarrassment.” Linch says Trump played a part in his voting decisions.

Linch is a lifelong Democrat who says Trump’s immigration policies were a part of the reason why he didn’t vote for a single Republican.


12:55 am

Two years after President Donald Trump easily won West Virginia, voters are deciding a midterm election in one of his Republican strongholds.

Tuesday’s election includes races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the Legislature, the state Supreme Court and two proposed constitutional amendments.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin goes against Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The 3rd District U.S. House race pits Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda against Republican state Delegate Carol Miller.

Republican Congressman David McKinley faces West Virginia University law professor Kendra Fershee in the 1st District. In the 2nd District, Congressman Alex Mooney takes on Talley Sergent, the state presidential campaign director for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

There are 10 candidates in each of the Supreme Court races to replace two retired justices.


For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

Update hourly