Republican Political History in Raleigh County WV

Explore some history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV.

History is objective in that something real happened. It is subjective in that we often don’t have complete details on what happened, and we have few details about why. History has been used as a political tool since Cicero. At the same time, history provides a fascinating look at our forebears, and why we are where we are today. I have assembled a little history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV. Whatever your political stripe, I encourage you to discover a little bit about the past as a way to inform the future. Politics is tough but it doesn’t have to be hateful.

We are all concerned about coronavirus, civil unrest, and recession. Amidst these worries,  Raleigh County Republicans have some things to be happy about:

  1. As of August 2020, for the first time since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, there are more Raleigh County voters registered Republican than registered Democrat.
  2. We have a strong slate of Republican candidates in 2020, from the State House to the White House.
  3. We had an exciting first ever Election 2020 rally at the Epling Stadium in Beckley on 24 September from 5 to 7 pm (see schedule below).

The Republican Party of West Virginia has a well-written and informative article on its history. Political history at the county level is a little harder to find. The Political Graveyard, maintained by Lawrence Kestenbaum, is a valuable source of such information. The West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, also has some wonderful information. Finally, individual voters and leaders in the party such as Joe Long, Julia Long, Lillian Foti, and Stan Norman, provide a wealth of knowledge. Others who worked hard to rebuild the GOP in WV include the Emerson Stover family, the Cantley family, the Delbert Pettry family, Melba Underwood, Linda Sumner and Beverly Lund. If you have more or differing information, please let me know.

Republican Party Chairpersons in Raleigh County[1]

S.S. Sutphin  

  • Member of West Virginia state house of delegates from Raleigh County, 1907-08.
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1917.

Floyd McKinley Sayre (1893-1971)

  • Lawyer
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1940-46.
  • Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1940.
  • Candidate for Presidential Elector for West Virginia, 1964.

Robert Johnson Ashworth (1909-2008)

  • Born in McDowell County, W.Va.
  • Served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1949-54.
  • Alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1956
  • President and part owner, Richmond Cleaners and Laundry.
  • Circuit judge in West Virginia, 1988.
  • Member, Lions; Elks; Moose; Freemasons; Shriners; Phi Delta Theta.

Truman Lynch Sayre (1925-2018)

  • Candidate for West Virginia state house of delegates from Raleigh County, 1954
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1961.

Mrs. Reginald Meyers

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1962.

Carlos Crews

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1963.

Howard L Spears

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1973.

Emerson O. Stover

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1983.
  • Incorporator with Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department, 1976.

“Pee Wee” Gillis Cornett

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1998.

Joseph Long (1937-)

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1999-2008, 2011-2013.

Chuck Carpenter

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2008-2010, 2017-2018.

Stan Norman (1949-)

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2018-2019.

Mark Harris

  • Physician, retired Army Colonel
  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2019-2021.
  • Alternate delegate for Republican National Convention (COVID-19 canceled), 2020.
  • WV Republican Party State Chair, 2021 to 2022.

Republican National Convention Delegates and Alternates

  • 1924, Cleveland: Brown W. Payne
  • 1932, Chicago: David D. Ashworth
  • 1936, Cleveland: David D. Ashworth, Rosalie C. Muller
  • 1940, Philadelphia: Floyd M. Sayre
  • 1944, Chicago: Brown H. Payne
  • 1956, San Francisco: Robert J. Ashworth, J. S. Butts
  • 1960, Chicago: James K. Edmundson, Eugene L. Scott
  • 2004, New York: Rick Snuffer
  • 2008, St. Paul: Jonathan Rinker, Sarah Rinker, Dereck Severt, Russ Weeks
  • 2020, Charlotte NC (COVID 19 – canceled): Mark Harris selected.

Other Events

  • 2002 we elected Linda Sumner to house. first one in 50 years.
  • 2004 we got our first State Senator Elected (Russ Weeks) and he defeated Senator Bill Wooten (Judicial Chairman.
  • 2004 – State Republican Convention at Tamarack in Beckley, WV.

Campaign Contributions[2]

In the last 4 years (2015-2018), there were 431 contributions totaling $121,133 to Democratic and liberal campaigns, averaging $281 per contribution.

In the last 4 years, there were 516 contributions totaling $647,990 to Republican and conservative campaigns, averaging $1,256 per contribution.

Presidential Votes for Raleigh County, WV[3],[4]

YearRaleigh County
(plurality winner)
Turnout %Regis-trationWest Virginia
(plurality winner)
United States
(Electoral College winner)
2020R 19312D 19406
2016Donald Trump-R55.2R 17095D 24299Donald Trump-RDonald Trump-R
2012Mitt Romney R52.8R 14823D 29415Mitt Romney-RBarack Obama-D
2008John S. McCain R51.7R 14117D 30966John S. McCain-RBarack Obama-D
2004George W. Bush RGeorge W. Bush RGeorge W. Bush R
2000George W. Bush RGeorge W. Bush RGeorge W. Bush R
1996Bill Clinton DBill Clinton-DBill Clinton-D
1992Bill Clinton DBill Clinton DBill Clinton-D
1988Michael S. Dukakis DMichael S. Dukakis DGeorge Bush R
1984Ronald Reagan RRonald Reagan RRonald Reagan-R
1980Jimmy Carter DJimmy Carter DRonald Reagan-R
1976Jimmy Carter DJimmy Carter DJimmy Carter-D
1972Richard M. Nixon RRichard M. Nixon RRichard M. Nixon-R
1968Hubert H. Humphrey DHubert H. Humphrey-DRichard M. Nixon-R
1964Lyndon B. Johnson DLyndon B. Johnson-DLyndon B. Johnson-D
1960John F. Kennedy DJohn F. Kennedy-DJohn F. Kennedy-D
1956Dwight D. Eisenhower RDwight D. Eisenhower RDwight D. Eisenhower- R
1952Adlai E. Stevenson DAdlai E. Stevenson-DDwight D. Eisenhower- R
1948Harry S. Truman DHarry S. Truman-DHarry S. Truman-D
1944Franklin D. Roosevelt DFranklin D. Roosevelt-DFranklin D. Roosevelt-D
1940Franklin D. Roosevelt DFranklin D. Roosevelt-DFranklin D. Roosevelt -D
1936Franklin D. Roosevelt DFranklin D. Roosevelt-DFranklin D. Roosevelt-D
1932Franklin D. Roosevelt DFranklin D. Roosevelt-DFranklin D. Roosevelt-D
1928Herbert Hoover RHerbert Hoover-RHerbert Hoover-R
1924Calvin Coolidge-RCalvin Coolidge-RCalvin Coolidge-R
1920Warren G. Harding RWarren G. Harding-RWarren G. Harding-R
1916Charles Evans Hughes RCharles Evans Hughes-RWoodrow Wilson-D
1912[no data]Woodrow Wilson-DWoodrow Wilson-D
1908William H. Taft RWilliam H. Taft RWilliam H. Taft R
1904Theodore Roosevelt RTheodore Roosevelt-RTheodore Roosevelt-R
1900William McKinley RWilliam McKinley-RWilliam McKinley-R
1896William McKinley RWilliam McKinley-RWilliam McKinley-R
1892Grover Cleveland DGrover Cleveland-DGrover Cleveland-D
1888Grover Cleveland DGrover Cleveland-DBenjamin Harrison – R
1884[no data]Grover Cleveland-DGrover Cleveland-D
1880[no data]Winfield S. Hancock – DJames A. Garfield – R

[1] http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/WV/RA-parties.html

[2] https://www.bestplaces.net/voting/county/west_virginia/raleigh.

[3] https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/VoteRegTotals.aspx.

[4] http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/WV/RA-votes.html.

Author: MD Harris Family Institute

MD, MPH, MBA, MDiv, PhD, ThM, DECBA Colonel, US Army (ret)

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