(Above) The district lines for the US Congress have been redrawn for the upcoming 2022 elections. West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district was eliminated due to the state’s population decline over the past decade. The new 2nd district now stretches across the northern part of the state (above, in dark blue)
Next November, West Virginians will vote for the politicians to represent them in the US House of Representatives, WV Senate, and WV House of Delegates. Currently there are four parties with automatic ballot access in WV — Democratic, Republican, Libertarian and Mountain (an affiliate of the national Green Party).
West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional district was eliminated due to the state’s population decline over the past decade. The new 2nd district now stretches across the northern part of the state, from Parkersburg in the west to Charles Town in the east (see map, top of page). The top three growth counties in the state (Berkeley, Monongalia, Jefferson) are grouped together in the same district. The 2nd is also home to two incumbent Congressmen, David McKinley of Wheeling and Alex Mooney of Charles Town. Both are Republicans and have indicated they plan to compete in the May 2022 primary. No other candidates have yet announced their plans to run for Congress in this district.
WV State Senate
In the state legislature, the 16th Senate district encompasses all of Jefferson County and roughly half of Berkeley County. The Senate districts are represented by two senators, elected for overlapping four year terms. Democrat Hannah Geffert of Martinsburg is the incumbent in the 16th district seat up for election in 2022 (she was appointed to fill the unexpired term of John Unger). By law, the candidate for this seat needs to reside in Berkeley County (the other senator representing the 16th district must reside in Jefferson County — currently Republican Patricia Rucker, who will be up for reelection in 2024).
WV House of Delegates
After the November 2022 election, Jefferson County will be represented by 4 members in the House of Delegates. In addition to redrawing the district lines, the legislature split the remaining 33 multi-member Delegate districts into single-member districts, so there are now 100 districts across the state, with numbers 97, 98, 99 and 100 representing Jefferson County (see map, left).
The 97th district groups Democratic incumbent John Doyle of Jefferson County with Republican incumbent John Hardy of Berkeley County. The footprint of the district extends northward from Route 9, loops around Shepherdstown to the west, then dips down around the north of Willowdale and runs down Shepherd Grade Road past University Drive before it turns to the river right outside the town limits. The boundary line to the west of Shepherdstown is just past the shopping center on Route 45. Roughly two-thirds of the population is in Berkeley County and one-third is in Jefferson County.
In the center of Jefferson County, the cities of Charles Town and Ranson will be in separate districts, with Ranson in the new 98th district and Charles Town in the new 99th district. The 98th is home to incumbent Republican Paul Espinosa and stretches from the Shenandoah River on the east to the Berkeley County line on the west and north to Route 9 (including all of Ranson). The 99th is home to incumbent Republican Wayne Clark and encompasses all of Charles Town along with the residential neighborhoods to the west, east and northeast of the city.
The new 100th district has no incumbent and stretches southeast from downtown Shepherdstown (and the Maddox Farm and Willowdale neighborhoods immediately to its west) to include Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, along with the Blue Ridge and Shannondale areas to the east of the Shenandoah River.
Splitting & Shading the Map
County-wide, voter registrations are roughly split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents, with voting patterns shifting depending on the election and specific candidates on the ballot. The Observer asked some individuals familiar with the county’s voting patterns about these new maps, and they foresee the new 97th as more blue than the county average (likely favoring Democratic candidates), the new 100th as more red (likely favoring Republican candidates) and the 98th and 99th as significantly more red (with a significant advantage to Republican candidates).
Rural Counties Retain Influence
In the new Congressional map, the top three growth counties in the state — Berkeley, Monongalia, Jefferson — are grouped together in the 2nd district. With an almost equal split of the state’s population between the two districts, the expected population growth over the next decade will almost certainly underweight the voting representation of these three populous counties within just a few years. The new map of the WV Senate districts (see our website) tells a similar story, but with the underweighting of the Eastern Panhandle’s voting representation already baked in from the start — 16th (Jefferson & Berkeley) is 4.5% over the ideal population target and the 15th (Berkeley, Morgan & Hampshire) is 4% overpopulated. The 13th (representing Morgantown and the eastern part of Monongalia county) is 4.3% overpopulated.By Staff Contributor