Crawford, Rusnak, Walters secure Republican nominations in Kanawha County races

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Republican voters have made their voices heard in the primary races for Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney and Commissioner.

Kanawha County Chief Deputy Joe Crawford defeated former deputy Sean Crosier in the Republican primary Tuesday night. Crawford received 10,776 votes to Crosier’s 6,109.

No Democrats filed to be in the primary so Crawford will become Kanawha County’s next sheriff. He replaces longtime Sheriff Mike Rutherford who announced he would not seek another term.

Crawford said his hard work paid off ever since he announced his intention of running for sheriff in June 2023.

Joe Crawford

“We worked hard and we had a good campaign,” Crawford said. “My mom told me ‘if it’s worth having, it’s worth working for. Get out and earn it. No one’s going to give you anything.'”

The shoes will be tough to fill, but Crawford said he wants to build on what Sheriff Rutherford has done for so many years and make the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department the best in the state which he believes it currently is.

“I want to continue to move the department forward with new technology and training,” said Crawford, who has spent about the past three years as chief deputy.

Recruiting and retaining more deputies is also a goal Crawford has in mine for the department moving forward.

A spirited race for the Republican nomination of Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney went to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Debra Rusnak. Her 9,011 votes beat out Morgan M. Switzer who received 7,431 votes. Rusnak called it a hard fought battle between her and Switzer.

Debra Rusnak

“Now is the time to build bridges and end the division in the party,” she said.

Rusnak has spent the last eight years working in the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. She believes her record as a public servant is a strong one and showed to be strong enough to win the nomination.

“I kept my campaign positive and relied on my record,” said Rusnak. “I’m not about to change that.”

Rusnak is now looking forward to November and the General Election where she will be on the ballot with the Democratic nominee John Mitchell.

Chris Walters

A change on the Kanawha County Commission is now a guarantee. Former state Senator Chris Walters bested D. Dewayne Duncan on the Republican side. Walters got 9,032 votes Tuesday night while Duncan came away with 6,682 .

In the Democratic Primary, former West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant defeated longtime Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper, who announced his resignation from the Commission last week, just a few days before election day. Tennant received nearly 10,000 more votes than Carper, 11,374 to 1,906.

Tennant and Walters will face-off in the November General Election. The winner will join Commissioners Ben Salango, a Democrat, and Lance Wheeler, a Republican and current commission president.

Walters is a longtime resident of Kanawha County. He said he couldn’t sit on the sideline and watch the population of the county continue to decline. He wants to bring his ideas to the commission and see Kanawha County “thrive” again.

“I’m not somebody to sit back and watch that happen,” Walters said. “I want to see this county blossom.”