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Results from Tuesday’s general election in West Virginia

November 7, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin retained his seat while Republicans swept West Virginia’s three U.S. House races, including electing just the state’s third woman to Congress.

Here’s a look at how races in the state fared Tuesday:

U.S. SENATE

Manchin 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.

U.S. HOUSE

Republican state lawmaker Carol Miller held off a strong challenge from Democratic state Sen. Richard Ojeda in the 3rd District, a seat Republican Evan Jenkins gave up for an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate.

Miller is the third woman from West Virginia elected to Congress. Maude Kee served in the U.S. House from 1951 to 1964 after the death of her husband. Shelley Moore Capito served seven terms in the House before being elected as a U.S. senator in 2014.

Miller’s late father also served in Congress from Ohio.

Incumbent Congressmen David McKinley in the 1st District and Alex Mooney in the 2nd District won re-election.

McKinley defeated Democrat Kendra Fershee to win a fifth term. Fershee is a West Virginia University law professor and associate dean of academic affairs.

Mooney won his third term in Congress by defeating Democrat Talley Sergent, a former Hillary Clinton state presidential campaign director.

STATE SENATE

Republicans will maintain control of the West Virginia Senate but lost their majority leader.

The GOP won nine of the 17 Senate seats up for grabs on Tuesday night. The other 17 seats were not on the ballot.

Republicans will enter 2019 with a 20-14 Senate majority.

Senate Majority leader Ryan Ferns was unseated by Democrat Bill Ihlenfeld, a former U.S. attorney. Ferns is a Republican from Ohio County who came under scrutiny during a nine-day teachers strike last winter.

The other ousted incumbent was Kanawha County Republican Ed Gaunch, who lost to Democrat Richard Lindsay.

SUPREME COURT

Two appointed Supreme Court justices have won election to those seats.

Former House speaker Tim Armstead and ex-Congressman Evan Jenkins survived crowded campaigns Tuesday night. They were appointed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice to fill two seats on the state’s highest court until the election. They each defeated nine other candidates.

Armstead will complete the term of retired Justice Menis Ketchum. The term runs through 2020.

Jenkins will serve until 2024, when the term of retired Justice Robin Davis ends.

Judicial elections in West Virginia became nonpartisan in 2016, but the court’s impeachment scandal this year stirred political attacks. Some Democrats argued that the court’s shake up over spending and other issues was a power grab by the Republican-led legislature.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

West Virginia voters approved two proposed constitutional amendments. One would allow lawmakers to restrict or outlaw state funding for Medicaid abortions. The other would give legislators the option of reducing part of the state judiciary’s annual budget.

The abortion 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.

The other ballot measure 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.

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