MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Candidates for political office in West Virginia are wasting no time, this first week of the official filing period to be on the ballot for May primary. And things are already heating up.

It’s been a busy place here at the West Virginia Secretary of State’s eastern panhandle regional office.
Ashlin Whatmore sees the political hopefuls at the first stages of their campaign odysseys.

“I would say some of them are nervous,” Whatmore said. “Some of them are confident.”

Your paperwork has to be in order to qualify for a spot on the West Virginia ballot. Then it’s time to sell yourself to voters.

“I’m ready,” said Susan Benzinger, Democrat House of Delegates candidate in Jefferson County. “I’m ready to go. We’re going to be out talking to people starting this week. We’ve talked to a lot of people already.”

Benzinger is seeking a House of Delegates seat from Jefferson County and is getting out to introduce herself to voters. In neighboring Berkeley County, Republican Larry D. Kump seeks to return to the House in a newly created seat. He is already making his platform clear to voters.

“We have hundreds of millions of dollars that we’re going to have in surplus during this next fiscal year,” said Kump. “My purpose and pledge are to support all efforts to return this money back to the taxpayers.”

Kump and Benzinger will be getting their messages out in the weeks and months ahead. But this first day of filing paperwork is something of a rite of passage.

“It’s great,” said Amanda Stickles in the Secretary of State’s regional office. “When the candidates come in, sometimes they come in with a group to take photos. Or, like today, to have a news interview and the excitement in the office. It’s really cool.”

With these paperwork formalities out of the way, these candidates are ready to hit the campaign trail.

The filing deadline is midnight on Jan. 29. And in the newly drawn second congressional district of West Virginia, Congressman Alex Mooney, who lives in the eastern panhandle, put his paperwork in with the secretary of state this first week for filing. He will face a challenge from Republican incumbent David McKinley of wheeling in the northern panhandle.