Third time is charm for Buzzard in GOP primary victory over Fetters in Huntington mayor race

Larry Buzzard (left) beams as he accepts congratulations from David Funk on winning the Republican nomination for mayor of Huntington in the municipal primary election on Tuesday, May 7. Funk also had reason to celebrate, as he won the GOP nomination for the 4th District seat on the Huntington Common Council.
Larry Buzzard (left) beams as he accepts congratulations from David Funk on winning the Republican nomination for mayor of Huntington in the municipal primary election on Tuesday, May 7. Funk also had reason to celebrate, as he won the GOP nomination for the 4th District seat on the Huntington Common Council. Photo by Steve Clark.

The third time proved to be a charm for Larry Buzzard, who defeated Brooks Fetters on his third attempt for the Huntington mayoral nomination in the Republican primary on Tuesday, May 7.

After finishing second to Fetters in races for the GOP mayoral nod in 2011 and 2015, Buzzard flipped the script this time around, garnering 1,373 votes to Fetters’ 1,150.

Buzzard, who currently serves as president of the Huntington County Commissioners, thanked his supporters for their votes of confidence and said he’s looking forward to the race in November.

“I’m honored. I’m humbled. I’m proud,” he said. “I want to congratulate Brooks for a great campaign. We’re all Republicans. We all work together. We all believe in the same thing. We disagree on some minor things; we agree on most.”

When asked about his thoughts on finally winning after two previous losses to Fetters, Buzzard said he’s excited but also sympathetic to his fellow Republican.

“I’ve won some, I’ve lost some. Defeats are crushing. Winning’s pretty good. I’ll take winning any day,” he said. “I know what Brooks is going through and what his family’s going through and I know how that feels and that’s not a good feeling. I can sympathize with him.”

For Fetters, the outcome dashed his hopes of pursuing a third-consecutive term as Huntington’s mayor in the municipal election this November.

“Larry Buzzard ran a race and he won,” he said. “Good luck for him in November.”

Huntington voters also chose candidates for four Huntington Common Council seats and those in Andrews picked three candidates for town council seats.

Huntington Common Council, At-Large
Incumbent Seth Marshall and newcomer Patrick “P.J.” Felton won out over a field of four candidates. Marshall received 1,394 votes for 32.92 percent of the vote. Felton received 1,132 votes for 26.73 percent of the vote, edging out incumbent Jack Slusser, who had 1,066 votes and Brandon Whitesell received 643 votes.

Felton thanked his supporters and expressed a big sigh of relief over learning the results from the polls.

“I am very excited,” Felton said. “Congratulations to Seth in the other election spot. I’m thrilled.”

Huntington Common Council, 2nd District
Incumbent councilman Paul Pike retained his spot, edging out challenger Paul Scalf by taking 175 votes, or 51.32 percent of the vote. Scalf received 166 votes.

Pike said it was a good night for him and his family, and also for those who came to support him.

“I’m looking forward to the next four years and finishing off those things,” Pike said. “Pretty excited about it. Pretty excited about Larry becoming mayor and some of the changes he’s going to do.”

Huntington Common Council, 4th District
Incumbent David Funk also held on to his seat, beating newcomer Rabih Ayoub by receiving 395 votes, and 77.15 percent of the vote. Ayoub received 117 votes.

Funk was ecstatic about the win, in the light of a hard-fought race with Ayoub.

“It’s fantastic. That’s the hardest I’ve ever worked,” Funk said. “I’ve run about five or six times, and that was the hardest I’ve ever worked.”

Andrews Town Council
Of the four hopefuls on the ballot, three candidates – Laura Dillon, Roger Newsome Jr. and John Harshbarger – were chosen to run in November.

First-time candidate Dillon received the lion’s share of the vote, garnering 114 votes for 32.39 percent. Newsome received 93 votes, for 26.42 percent. Harshbarger, the only incumbent on the ballot, took third place, receiving 77 votes at 21.88 percent, enough to keep him on the ballot in November. Van Juillerat was edged out at 68 votes, or 19.32 percent.

Dillon, who currently serves as the Andrews town clerk-treasurer, was in high spirits about the win.

“We’re really happy about the results,” she said. “It will be a good transition for the three of us, and it will be a great team.”

Harshbarger, who is seeking his third term on the council, was also happy to continue on to the ballot in the municipal election on Nov. 5.

“I’ll just continue to work on the current issues and projects that we have going now, and look forward to the next election,” he said.

Newsome celebrated his first victory in the arena of politics, winning on his first run for office.

“It’s pretty awesome. I’m kind of stoked about it,” he said. “This is all new to me. I appreciated everyone that voted for me. I just want to see our town to move forward … This council has set a pretty good standard for what needs to be done, and I think we just need to keep following it.”

There were numerous spots on the primary ballot that were not filled by Democratic candidates. Democrats have until noon on June 30 to select candidates to fill vacancies on the municipal election ballot. By noon on July 3, certificates of selection stating that vacancies have been filled must be filed with the Huntington County Clerk’s Office.

Independent or minor party candidates have until noon on Monday, July 1, to file a petition of nomination with the clerk’s office for verification of petition signatures.

The municipal election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.