Ritter wins GOP race for commissioner

Showdown vs. Raney in November

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Kevin Ritter, center, is surrounded by Republican allies as he celebrates a primary victory in the race for Washington County Commissioner Tuesday.

Kevin Ritter celebrated with friends and family Tuesday after the contested primary election for county commissioner resulted in Ritter’s Republican nomination.

Ritter will go on to face James Raney, a Democrat, in the General Election on Nov. 6.

“We start working hard tomorrow. The next couple weeks I’m going to start a schedule to get out to the township meetings. I haven’t been out to many of those yet,” noted Ritter after pulling ahead very early in the night.

Ritter ran against two other Republican candidates, Jeremy Barton, of Coal Run, and Ray Witten, of Marietta. “Of course I’m disappointed,” said Witten, who watched for the results from home. “But I hope (Ritter) keeps his sights and I congratulate him and wish him the best.”

Barton watched the results come in with the gathering of candidates and public officials at the Washington County Board of Elections Tuesday, but conceded at 9 p.m. before results were final.

“I’m not going to make back 1,600 votes with 43 precincts in,” he said as he walked out. “I have no regrets, I gave it all I had.”

Barton said he campaigned for what he believed in, but the votes were cast where the public wanted.

Ritter won by 1,112 votes, 45.34 percent of the votes cast in the race.

Barton followed behind with 27.83 percent of the votes.

Witten had 26.83 percent.

Witten said he hopes Ritter will represent the party well in the next six-month race to the finish, and that the message of balance will prevail.

“I want to thank everyone who supported me and I know that the county has a bright future ahead,” said Witten. “I hope Mr. Ritter will continue that.”

At a glance

Washington County Commissioner’s Republican Primary:

¯ Jeremy Barton: 1,768 total votes, 27.83 percent of total cast.

¯ 1,514 cast on Election Day.

¯ 254 absentee.

¯ Kevin Ritter: 2,880 total votes, 45.34 percent of total cast.

¯ 2,288 cast on Election Day.

¯ 592 absentee.

¯ Ray Witten: 1,704 total votes, 26.83 percent of total cast.

¯ 1,436 cast on Election Day.

¯ 268 absentee.

¯ Total Republican votes cast for the Washington County Commissioner nomination: 6,352.

* Ritter will go on to the November General Election to appear alongside Democrat James Raney on the ballot.

Source: Washington County Board of Elections.