MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — For the first time in 20 years, Martinsburg will have a new mayor.
Tuesday’s election will determine seats for mayor, city council and at-large positions. Longtime Martinsburg Mayor George Karos announced in 2019 he will not seek re-election. Karos has served as mayor since 2000.
“I would like to thank everyone that has made my public service tenure successful: citizens, business community, local state and federal officials, the dedicated City of Martinsburg team of staff and employees and particularly, my wonderful supportive family,” Karos said his November announcemt. “It has been an honor to serve the City of Martinsburg, its businesses and citizens.”
There are six candidates for mayor of Martinsburg. One of two women, councilmember Harriet Johnson and educator Misty Francis, hope to become the city’s first female mayor. Francis, like most of the candidates, focused her campaign on fixing blighted properties in the city.
“That just gives the impression to people coming in that we’re not thriving,” Francis said. “That’s something that definitely needs to be addressed. Let’s look at the empty buildings. Let’s look at the streets that are rundown. Some of these people may not be able to fix these things themselves. So maybe we need to also take a step in and say ‘how can we help you’?”
West Virginia Air National Guard Veteran, contractor and local youth football coach Jim Dailey believes the city should help create a more supportive environment for entrepreneurship.
“There are buildings in the city that need attention. I think there is a move afoot to have individuals who don’t live here to renovate and expand those facilities. If I am mayor, we need to encourage those folks in any way we can to make sure that their needs are taken care of.”
Improving the quality of life for Martinsburg residents has been another leading campaign point. Some candidates have proposed tax incentives, while others have more concrete ideas to give residents more to do and bring in tourists.
One of those is a previously-discussed bike path through the city. Mayoral Candidate Dan Dulyea is currently Berkeley County Council Vice President.
“A bike trail that goes along the Tuscarora (Creek). Put the trail in, hook it up with the bike path out along Route 9 and bring it right down Queen Street. Get that trail all the way out to Poor House Farm. I mean, wouldn’t that be a cool thing to have in our city?”
“Maybe bring forward an amphitheater out here where the (Martinsburg) Mall used to be,” former magistrate Robert Lowe II said. “Because you already have the commercial infrastructure in place.”
In addition to a new mayor, Martinsburg residents will elect at least two new city council members. Incumbents in Ward 2, 3 and 4 are running unopposed.
Robert Lowe, II
James Dailey, II
H.D. Boyd, Jr.
Write-in: Peter Anselmo
Dennis Etherington (incumbent)
Jason Baker (incumbent)
The polls are open 6:30 am – 7:30 pm on Tuesday. There was an option for Martinsburg voters to submit an absentee ballot due to COVID-19.
Find more election info here.