Walters wins GOP commission nomination

With nearly 66 percent of the vote, Rick Walters, 57, of Coal Run, won the Washington County Commissioner Republican primary race Tuesday night.

He’ll face off against a last-minute Independent write-in candidate in the November general election.

Walters said winning the race against fellow Republican Jeremy Barton, 34, also of Coal Run, was good and bad news.

“Jeremy Barton is a man I’ve known for most of his life,” Walters said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet victory.”

Walters said he hopes Barton stays involved in politics.

“He just joined the (Republican) Central Committee,” he said. “I look forward to working with Jeremy in the future.”

Walters said he has learned much from the campaign.

“It’s been a learning experience,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of help from current county commissioners and former county commissioners.”

Walters said his plans when he got home included a lot of communication.

“I’m going to go home and make a lot of phone calls,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of people waiting on me to call, text and send emails. I’m going to do a lot of communicating when I get home.”

Barton said the race was tough, but he will run again.

“It was an uphill process from the beginning,” he said. “I did my best; I have no regrets. I’ll run for office again.”

He didn’t dedicate a lot of money to campaigning, Barton said.

“I spent less than $500 campaigning and got almost 35 percent (of the vote),” he said. “That’s pretty good.”

Barton said he’s going to stay actively involved in politics, and gained a lot of knowledge from his first foray into politics.

“Personally, I gained a lot of knowledge and how the county works and the limits of the commissioner’s office,” he said. “I’m still going to stay involved. I just jumped in last minute. I’m going to get involved in politics more.”

Rita Molvie, 52, of Marietta, voted for Barton. She said she thought his military experience gave him an edge.

“I voted (for Barton) because he’s a veteran,” she said. “I think that provides a good background for an individual…I think he really had the best interest of the public at heart.”

Jill Poldemann, of Marietta, said though she and her husband didn’t do thorough research, they felt Walters was a good candidate.

“I didn’t know who (Barton) was,” she said. “(Walters) was more familiar to me than the other.”

Despite winning against Barton, Walters’ work is not quite over: an Independent, Ray Witten, of Reno, filed to enter the race for outgoing commissioner Tim Irvine’s seat on Friday.

Witten was not able to be reached Tuesday.

Commission President Ron Feathers said Walters has a way to go, but he’s looking forward to possibly working with him.

“Rick still has a campaign to run throughout the summer,” Feathers said. “If he wins in November, I look forward to working with him. He’s going to bring a lot of experience to the table.”

Likewise, Commissioner David White said Walters makes a good candidate.

“He’s a very good candidate and he’ll make a very good commissioner,” White said.

Walters said he’s not going to change a thing moving forward.

“I’m just going to continue what I’ve been doing the first few months,” he said. “Learning is going to be a big part of it.”