MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —State Sen. Herb Snyder fended off a strong challenge Tuesday night by former Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Ruland to win re-election in the 16th district of the 34-member chamber of the Legislature, according to complete, but unofficial results.
With all 65 precincts in the 16th district reporting, Snyder, D-Jefferson/Berkeley, received 20,434 votes and Ruland, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., received 17,450 votes, according to tallies compiled from the county clerks in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
In Berkeley County, Snyder received 8,939 votes and Ruland received 7,644 votes. In Jefferson County, Snyder received 11,495 votes and Ruland received 9,806 votes.
With the apparent victory in hand, Snyder returns to the Senate for a third, four-year term. He was first elected to the state Senate in 1996.
State senators are paid $20,000 per year.
On the campaign trail, Snyder, 59, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., said retaining his leadership post as chairman of one of the most powerful Senate committees less than two years ago was very important to the Eastern Panhandle.
Snyder serves as chairman of the Senate Government Organization Committee.
Ruland, 71, argued that new leadership is needed in Charleston, W.Va., because the same lawmakers responsible for the state’s problems still are being sent back to the Legislature to fix them.
Snyder touted legislative accomplishments, including the Chesapeake Bay bill, which commits $100 million in lottery revenue toward mandated upgrades at public wastewater treatment operations in eastern West Virginia, the Cacapon State Park capital improvement bonding bill and his work on Marcellus Shale legislation.
Snyder and Ruland have combined to spend more than $240,000 in the race, according to the latest campaign financial statements available.
The 16th Senate District includes all of Jefferson County and crosses into Berkeley County to include all of the city of Martinsburg and areas that generally are east and northeast of the county seat.