Clifton Picks Up Votes, But Not Enough To Upset Walkers’ Claim On County Commission Seat

Marlinton, WV – After all the votes were canvassed, JL Clifton, Democratic candidate for Pocahontas County Commission, picked up a few votes. The final count is 1342 votes for Walker and 1327 votes for Clifton, leaving only a 15 vote difference. According to Pocahontas County Clerk Sandra Friel, Clifton could request a recount. However, she says he would have to pay the expense. She estimates it could cost around five or six hundred dollars.

According to the precinct by precinct breakdown, Walker won the vote in 10 of the 15 county precincts, in some cases by as little as 2 votes. The distribution was fairly even with Walker picking up 5 of the six northern districts, 2 of 4 central districts, and 3 of 5 southern districts; Clifton carried the rest.

During the November 6th edition of Commissioners Corner, with the Pocahontas County Commissioners, they were asked whether the recently adopted county dog ordinance had an effect on the outcome of the election for County Commissioner. Jamie Walker is an outspoken opponent of the ordinance. Commissioner David Fleming allows that it may have been a factor.

“I spoke with Jamie Walker yesterday and congratulated him” says Fleming. “For my part, the first time I got to meet Mr. Walker was with respect to this dog ordinance; certainly not the best way to meet someone you’re going to be working with. The dog ordinance is a very controversial topic – it enjoyed lots of support as well as lots of opposition. And I think the vote being so very close is perhaps indicative of the feelings on this issue.”

Fleming remains resolute in his belief that the ordinance is needed.

“I’m glad to have adopted this ordinance” he says “I think time will tell if it’s effective, if it helps people who genuinely need the assistance that this ordinance intends to provide. We’ll also see if it’s perhaps abused and goes too far. My thinking is that we have to give this a chance and see how it works out.”

Commission President Martin Saffer says there are many reasons for the outcome of the vote. He says people vote for who they like or who they don’t like – sometimes even depending on whose campaign sign is in whose yard. He says it isn’t fair to pin this election on one issue.

Of course, hindsight is always 20-20 and Fleming was asked if he would have pursued the dog ordinance so vigorously if he had known it might have an influence on the vote.

“That’s a very good question and to that end, I’m happy to say that I’m a very poor politician” says Fleming. “If I had thought about it that way, maybe I would have said let’s not bring this up during the election time.’ I myself don’t want to play that game.”

“What I’m doing is in response to constituents concerns. When they contact me regarding an issue such as a dog ordinance, that I am willing ot take that on regardless of what effect that might have on an upcoming election.”

JL Clifton says he will probably not request a recount of the votes, although he has until 3pm on November 10th to do so. He says while he’s thankful to all those who voted for him, he’s also learned a important lesson through this whole election process – not to trust his families future security on the whim of the electorate. That being said, he doesn’t rule out a run for elected office in the future. For now, he just wants the time to think about this experience.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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