Newcomer Evan Worrell wins vacated District 18 House seat
HUNTINGTON — In the race to fill the vacant District 18 seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates, Republican Evan Worrell soundly defeated Democrat Karen Nance, 3,920 votes (63 percent) to 2,331 votes (37 percent) with all precincts reporting.
Worrell replaces incumbent Republican Delegate Kelli Sobonya, who has been elected to the Cabell County Commission.
There is only one seat for District 18, which covers most of southern Cabell County outside Huntington including Salt Rock, and portions of Barboursville and Ona south of U.S. 60.
This is the first foray toward public office for Worrell, a 38-year-old father of five from Barboursville, after previously serving as director for the Cabell County Republican headquarters. Worrell is a health care data analytics consultant for the Cerner Corp.
He spent the day campaigning and at the movies with his family and was out picking up campaigns signs from the road in Salt Rock when results came in.
“I’ve had a lot of support from the people in my district, and I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re praying for me,” Worrell said Tuesday night. “It’s not that I’m praying to be a delegate, but that God would use me to be who he’d want me to be.”
Worrell praised Nance as a worthy candidate and for running a clean race, but was critical of the more than $40,000 in campaigning that was used against him in the comparatively small district of roughly 8,000 people.
“I did what I thought what the right thing to do with Kelli (Sobonya) leaving,” Worrell said. “I believe that my values and beliefs really correlate with the values of the people of District 18.”
Nance, 63, most recently served on the Cabell County Board of Education before resigning in March to pursue to the District 18 seat. Nance is owner of The Old House Doctor general construction company and serves on multiple local historic preservation societies.
The winner of the general election will take office in January when the 84th West Virginia Legislature convenes in session. Members of the 100-seat House of Delegates serve two-year terms and earn $20,000 per year plus per diem pay.