When the dust settles in November, Hampshire County will have its 3rd prosecutor in 4 years.
Incumbent Betsy Plumer is citing family reasons in her decision to not run for a full 4-year term after she was appointed to the office in September 2017.
“We’re going to return to Martinsburg,” she said, “hoping we’ll be able to spend a little more time with our children and grandchildren.”
Plumer was quick to throw her support to her assistant prosecutor, Rebecca Miller, who has filed for the office as a Republican.
“I certainly endorse and recommend the candidacy of my assistant,” Plumer said.
Miller is unopposed in the GOP primary, but the Democratic primary has drawn 2 other assistant prosecutors, one with strong county ties.
Charlie Johnson III grew up in the county, graduated Hampshire High in 2008 and spent a little over a year in the Hampshire prosecutor’s office under Plumer, leaving last September.
Since then he has been commuting to Moorefield as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Hardy County.
“I grew up in Hampshire; I graduated there,” Johnson noted. “I see this as an opportunity to give back to the community that did a lot for me.”
Johnson must defeat an attorney with a familiar name, Harley Orrin Staggers III, in the May primary. Staggers’ grandfather was a longtime Congressman from Keyser.
His grandson, known as Orrin to friends and family, had a stint as assistant prosecutor in Hardy County before joining the Berkeley County prosecutor’s office. He lives in Charles Town.
“I’ve always loved Hampshire County. The people there have always been good to me,” Staggers said. “I’m committed to bringing a positive change overall.”
Prosecutor is the only county office that does not require residency in the county served.
Plumer came from Berkeley County when she was appointed in September 2017 to replace 2nd-term prosecutor Dan James.
James, a Berkeley Springs resident during his tenure here, left to return to Berkeley Springs as prosecutor in Morgan County when that office had a vacancy.