Mineral County voters will see changes in state representation

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
West Virginia is now separated into two U.S. Congressional districts instead of three. The new districts were drawn as part of the state's redistricting project in 2021, mandated by a change in population reported in the 2020 Census.

KEYSER - Voters in Mineral County will see some changes in terms of whom they vote for in the statewide election this year.

West Virginia underwent a massive redistricting project in 2021 due to losing population over the past ten years according to results of the 2020 Census.

The West Virginia Joint Committee on Redistricting, which was co-chaired by Del. Gary Howell of Mineral County and Sen. Charles Trump, was in charge of redrawing the lines for the state’s Congressional districts, as well as the state Senate and House of Delegates, in order to reflect the changes in population.

As a result of the restructuring, Mineral County, formerly in Congressional District 1 and represented by Rep. David McKinley of Wheeling, will now be in District 2, with the state’s current three districts being taken down to two.

The newly-formed District 2 includes the Eastern and Northern panhandles and most of the upper part of the state.

McKinley, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2011, would still be eligible to represent Mineral County, as would Alex Mooney of Charles Town, who has represented the current District 2 since 2015.

Mineral County will remain in the 14th Senatorial district after the state's districts were redrawn due to population changes reported in the 2021 Census.

In the state Senate, Mineral County will remain in District 14, which is currently represented by Dave Sypolt and Randy Smith. Other counties included in District 14 are Grant, Hardy, Preston, Tucker and part of Taylor.

The House districts, however, are where Mineral County voters will see the most change.

Mineral County will be split into two House of Delegates districts instead of three as a result of the statewide redistricting project. The county is now representated by districts 87 and 88.

Once divided up into three different districts represented by Howell, Ruth Rowan and John Paul Hott, Mineral County is now a part of only two districts.

The new District 87 is located in the middle of Mineral County and will include the area currently represented by Howell, while the new District 88 is an entirely new district that surrounds 87 on either side and dips down to also include a portion of Hampshire County.

Mineral County voters will therefore lose representation by both Rowan and Hott.

According to county clerk Lauren Ellifritz, any representative whose district was altered or eliminated will finish out their current term. New positions will go into effect in January when the newly-elected officials take office.

The state’s primary election is May 10, while the general election is Nov. 8.

Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. To reach out to her with a story idea, email lbeavers@newstribune.info.