By EVAN BEVINS
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG – Two members of the West Virginia House of Delegates, a former Parkersburg city councilwoman and the president of the Wood County Parks and Recreation Committee are interested in filling the state Senate vacancy left by the resignation of David Nohe.
The 3rd Senatorial District Republican Executive Committee has until Sept. 15 to nominate three people to succeed Nohe, who announced his resignation Monday for an appointment to the West Virginia Parole Board. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, will then have five days to appoint a nominee to the Senate.
Delegates Mike Azinger, R-Wood, and Bob Ashley, R-Roane, both said Wednesday they plan to pursue a nomination.
“It would be an honor just to serve as the senator from the 3rd District,” said Azinger, the son of longtime delegate Tom Azinger and in his first term as a member of the House. “You expand your influence in the Senate.”
Ashley served in the House from 1984-1998 and from 2000 to the present. He also said it would be an honor to follow Nohe.
“I was surprised, as many people have called me throughout the district asking me to consider it,” he said. “I’m in my 29th year, so I understand the legislative process.”
Sharyn Tallman, a three-term Parkersburg City Council member, said she’s considered running for the House and plans to submit a letter of intent for the Senate vacancy.
“I think I have enough municipal government experience,” she said. “I’ve worked with the Legislature before, and I follow what they do quite often.”
Tallman said if appointed she would be the second woman in the state Senate, alongside District 3 Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, who has been a mentor to her.
Bob Buchanan, president of the Wood County Parks and Recreation Board and a former Little Kanawha Conservation District supervisor, said he received several calls asking him to consider seeking the position and he’s decided to do it.
“I’d be happy to serve the state and the county that has given so much to my family and me,” he said.
Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch said he has been contacted by numerous party officials, individuals in the community and other elected leaders to gauge his interest in being appointed to fill the seat.
“I’ve been contacted by officials from D.C. and Charleston as well as here to see if I was interested in serving,” he said. “It’s always an honor to have your name brought up. It’s humbling to be approached. I hope to be able to make a decision and announce it at the county commission meeting.”
The county commission is scheduled to meet today.
Couch was elected in 2012 to serve a second six-year term on the commission.
Some current lawmakers whose names have been bandied about as possible candidates said Wednesday they are staying put.
“I think (with) my present position in the House of Delegates as speaker pro tem and my responsibilities there, I think I can better serve the people of Wood County there,” said Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, a 23-year member of the House. “I’m not in the running.”
Delegate Frank Deem, R-Wood, who like Azinger represents the 10th District, said Tuesday he doesn’t plan to seek the nomination to the Senate seat he held before losing to Nohe in the 2010 GOP primary.
The third representative of House District 10, Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, said he was asked to consider the Senate seat, but he isn’t going to apply.
“I’m very happy serving the people of Wood County in the House,” said Kelly, elected to the seat last year.
Kelly noted he’s already filed precandidacy papers to run for re-election and has multiple bills he’s ready to introduce in the 2016 session.
“That’s where I need to be,” he said.
Delegate Anna Border-Sheppard, R-Wood, represents part of Wood and all of Wirt County. That’s what she wants to keep doing, she said Wednesday.
“I want to concentrate my efforts on the 9th District,” she said. “I can’t imagine taking on that larger geographic area. I’d rather stay right where I am.”
The 3rd Senate District includes Wood, Pleasants, Wirt and part of Roane County. The committee consists of a male and female representative from each county, but at the start of the week, only three of those seats were filled.
Deem and Gladys Lemley are the Wood County representatives, while Boley’s husband, Jack, is a member from Pleasants County.
On Tuesday, Wirt County Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Angie Adams appointed herself and Alvin Engelke to the vacancies from that county, according to Amber Epling, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
Sen. Boley, who is the Pleasants County GOP chairwoman, said Tuesday she had selected former West Virginia Republican Women President Betty Bailey to fill the other seat from that county. Roane County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Charles McCarthy said he had found two people to serve. Those three names had not been submitted as of Wednesday afternoon.
Party officials have said they plan to fill all the vacancies on the committee before moving forward in the nomination process.
(Staff writer Pamela Brust contributed to this story.)
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