Woelfel close to Senate re-election
HUNTINGTON — Democratic incumbent Mike Woelfel was re-elected to District 5 of the West Virginia State Senate after taking a commanding lead over Republican challenger Larry Brooke Lunsford on Tuesday.
Woelfel earned 17,067 votes (6 0 percent) to Lunsford Lunsford’s 11,557 (40 percent), with all 71 precincts reporting.
The final tally means Woelfel will take a second term representing the district, which covers all of Cabell County and the northern portion of Wayne County, alongside current state Sen. Robert Plymale, who is not up for re-election this cycle.
A lawyer and former prosecutor from Huntington, Woelfel watched the results roll in Tuesday night at La Famiglia in Huntington.
“I’m humbled that people
have shown this type of confidence in me, and I hope that I can live up to that, and I’ll put in the hard work to do that,” Woelfel said. “I’m just a lucky guy, and I’ll do my best to merit the confidence the voters have put in me.”
Woelfel has held the Senate seat since 2014, when he was elected to replace the opening left when Republican Evan Jenkins pursued his U.S. House of Representatives spot.
A relative newcomer to politics, Woelfel noted how close his first race in 2014 was — wining with just 49.7 percent of the vote, and less than 800 votes over then-Republican challenger Vicki Dunn-Marshall.
Re-election, particularly by a noticeably safer margin, was especially reaffirming to the work he’s put in during his time in the Legislature, Woelfel said, particularly in reaching across the aisle from the Democratic minority for bipartisan support.
“If you’re a member of the state Senate and you’re not paying attention or you haven’t done your homework, you’re going to get embarrassed,” Woelfel said.
This is the first run for public office for Lunsford, a small-business owner from Salt Rock.
West Virginia’s state senators serve staggered four-year terms and earn a $20,000 per diem.