A replacement candidate on the Democratic ticket for Barbour County Commission was announced this week by the Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee.
This move substitutes Dana Booth on the ballot in place of May primary winner Eddie Canterbury, who stepped down citing health reasons.
Canterbury ran for a commission seat as a Democrat and won by 10 votes in the primary over Booth, and by 50 votes against Ken Auvil, a third candidate vying for the position. However, Canterbury recently petitioned the state Elections Commission, after his stroke on June 7, for his removal from the upcoming general election ballot in November.
"I'm very much humbled to have this opportunity to possibly still serve the people of Barbour County. I hope the people realize that I don't take it lightly," Booth said of this bid to run in November against Republican incumbent Phil Hart.
Hart, the current County Commission president, is from the county's southern district.
State Elections Commission officials said Canterbury requested that he be removed from the upcoming election because of his change in health status. An initial hearing on the matter took place Aug. 10 before the state board. The matter was tabled pending the request for additional information about Canterbury's health, and the issue was revisited at the Elections Commission's Aug. 15 meeting in Charleston.
During that session, the state members heard statements from several official sources, including Delegate Mary Poling, D-Barbour, and Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor, both of whom verified reports of Canterbury's stroke. After the state commission sought further verification of Canterbury's health status change, a letter from his physician was submitted to the board. This was presented in tandem with the statements by Poling and Williams.
As part of the Aug. 15 hearing, which was broadcast via the secretary of state's website, www.wvsos.gov/secretary-desk/Pages/StateElectionCommission.aspx, statements were made indicating Canterbury's stroke resulted in paralysis. This is a claim the former candidate's family vehemently denies.
Multiple calls to Canterbury were unreturned. However, his daughter, Tammy Payne, provided a written statement via email to The Inter-Mountain earlier this week.
"As the daughter of Eddie Canterbury, I can assure you that he hasn't suffered from any type of paralysis since day one of his stroke. It has affected his vision and the language part of his brain, which is bad enough," Payne wrote.
"As a former member of the Barbour County Commission, Dad was very upset from what little was being done in the current County Commission. He had been planning for two years to run again and campaigned very hard before the primary."
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant made the motion to allow the Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee to replace Canterbury on the 2012 general election ballot. The motion passed 3-1, with commission member William Renzelli opposing.
The Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee then was given until Monday to name a replacement. Macel Auvil, Barbour County clerk, said paperwork came into her office Aug. 17 from the Barbour County Democratic Executive Committee naming Booth for the slot.
Booth said he has served the people of Belington as mayor and as a member of City Council. Also, on behalf of his labor organization, Booth said he has lobbied in Washington, D.C., and the state Legislature.
"I'd like to take the experience that I've applied throughout the years and work toward a better Barbour County and be a voice for the people," Booth said, adding, "it's a position that requires a lot of commitment and knowledge and most of all service to the people."
Booth said he believes Barbour County has been "stagnant" for the past 10 to15 years and there is a need for programs that can "hopefully create jobs."
"It takes us all working together - Democrat, Republican. We gotta get away from the rhetoric somewhat and start working for the common good," he said.