Workman with big lead, poll shows

John O'Brien Sep. 12, 2008, 12:54pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - A recent poll shows Margaret Workman, a former West Virginia Supreme Court justice, has an easy road to travel to get back to the bench.

The poll, conducted by Mark Blankenship Enterprises of Charleston, predicts a close race for the second vacant seat on the court. Huntington lawyer Menis Ketchum, who passed through the Democratic primary with Workman, holds a 2-percent lead over Charleston lawyer Beth Walker, a Republican.

"This polling information reflects exactly what we have always thought about this race and mirrors the response I have received while traveling around West Virginia," Walker said.

Workman, who served on the state's highest court from 1988-2000, was the first woman elected to a statewide office in West Virginia. Forty-two percent of the 432 registered voters polled by Blankenship Enterprises said they would vote for her.

Ketchum received 23 percent of votes, with Walker getting 21. Twenty-eight percent said they were undecided.

Should Walker and Workman both prevail, there will be more females than males on the Court. Justice Robin Davis was elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000.

Current Chief Justice Spike Maynard fell in the Democratic primary, and Justice Larry Starcher decided not to seek re-election.

Justice Brent Benjamin is the only Republican currently on the Court.

"I am confident that in the final weeks of the campaign, voters will respond positively to our message," Walker said. "I am the only conservative in this race, and I am deeply committed to the West Virginia values of integrity and fairness."

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