Long-time Delegate Rick Staton narrowly lost his bid for the House of Delegates 22nd District Tuesday.

Del. Richard Browning, D-Wyoming, led the battle for the two district seats. While Browning earned the Democratic nomination for one seat, the race for the second seat remained close throughout election evening.

Staton, currently House Majority Leader, held second place for a time in Wyoming County, but fell behind challenger Mike Burdiss, also of Mullens, as the evening continued.

The 22nd district also includes portions of McDowell and Mercer counties.

With 53 of 53 precincts reporting, Browning had 2,759 votes; Burdiss had 2,143; and Staton had 2,003.

Browning has served in the House for 14 years, though not consecutively, and is also executive director of the Coalfields Expressway Authority.

Staton was first elected in 1988, though recent personal problems have plagued him throughout this race.

“I’m very pleased with the results personally,” Browning said. “I want to congratulate Mr. Burdiss on his campaign and look forward to working with him.”

Burdiss is retired and has worked as an underground mine electrician, legislative representative for UMWA International, construction supervisor, and political consultant.

“Because I am retired, I can and will spend full time serving and addressing the needs of the people of the 22nd district and the State of West Virginia. I emphasize the word ‘serving’,” Burdiss said prior to the election. “Legislators are the servant of the people who elect them, not the other way around.”

Staton said he was “obviously disappointed.”

“I’ve had 18 great years. I feel good about the things I’ve been able to accomplish for this area,” Staton emphasized.

Also in the House race, Jack E. Fincham of Brenton was the lone candidate on the Republican ticket for the primary. He will face the Democratic nominees in November.

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