HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Used car salesman and funny-car dragster enthusiast Mark R. Maynard visited reporters Wednesday, one day after he rode a Republican wave into the state Senate.
The Wayne County GOP chairman unseated longtime incumbent state Sen. H. Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, as part of an election that sent packing 11 Democrats who serve as chairmen and eight who serve as vice chairmen from both chambers of the state Legislature.
The Democratic losses were statewide, flipping control of the state House of Delegates and tying membership in the state Senate. Analysts described both as landmarks in West Virginia’s shifting political identity, and it was enough to convince State Senator Daniel Hall, of Wyoming County, to change from blue to red the day after the election, officially setting up the GOP to hold the majority in the upper house. Hall’s seat was not on the ballot this year.
Maynard, still red-eyed from a long night of celebrating, described himself as pleasantly surprised. He collected 11,561 votes in defeating Chafin by 389 votes…