11-8-12 GOP makes huge gains in W.Va. House

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Republicans have nearly erased the Democrats’ 15-seat majority in West Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Tuesday’s unofficial results give the GOP at least 44 seats in the 100-member House.

At least five Democratic incumbents fell to GOP challengers. Republicans picked up four more seats left open by retiring Democrats.

One Republican incumbent lost: Delegate Walter Duke in Berkeley County. Democrats also picked up a GOP-vacated seat in Nicholas County.

Two seats, in Kanawha and Berkeley counties, appeared too close to call.

Seventeen of 34 seats in the Democrat-dominated Senate also were up Tuesday. Democrats won 11 of those contests, after seven of their candidates ran unopposed. But Republican Bill Cole beat Sen. Mark Wills in Mercer County. Another Republican, Chris Walters, won a redrawn seat representing Kanawha and Putnam Counties.

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