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Storch, Ferns Re-Elected as 3rd District Delegates

November 7, 2012
By JOSELYN KING Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Democrat Ryan Ferns and Republican Erikka Storch will continue to represent Ohio County in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Unofficial totals indicate the two received the most votes Tuesday among four candidates seeking to represent the 3rd Delegate District.

Election night totals showed Storch received 10,499 votes and Ferns 7,291, while Democrat Shawn Fluharty had 6,983 and Republican Larry Tighe, 3,080. Storch and Ferns, both serving their first terms in the House, have shared a good relationship while in office.

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Storch, 41, serves as chief financial officer at her family's business, Ohio Valley Steel. She holds a master's degree in business administration from Wheeling Jesuit University. She and husband, Tom, have three children.

Ferns, 29, holds both a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in physical therapy from Wheeling Jesuit University. He is a member of the Governor's Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning Advisory Council and recently opened the Ryan Ferns Healthplex in Benwood.

Storch thanked the voters for their support, and she believes the work she did on behalf of constituents was appreciated by them.

"Hopefully, they were happy with the service provided to them," she said. "They seemed to like the town halls we held and having that connection to Charleston we brought back to Wheeling."

Storch said she tried to be responsive whenever a constituent contacted her, and to connect them with the resources to solve their problem.

"I think just doing your job over time - rather than just trying to get re-elected - is very important," she added.

In the late days of the campaign, Fluharty launched advertising citing Ferns' arrest earlier this year for driving under the influence. Ferns announced after the arrest he was pulling out of the election and resigning his House seat, but he later changed his mind.

"I'm just thrilled voters were willing to put their faith in me to represent them in the House of Delegates," Ferns said Tuesday. "Based on my track record, I established myself as someone who always puts Ohio County first.

"There were times when I had to cross party lines for the best interest of Ohio County, and people appreciated that," he added.

Ferns noted his good working relationship with Storch, who chose not to comment about Ferns' arrest during the campaign.

"This campaign shows negative advertising isn't effective in local elections," he said. "It has been proven in larger, national races to be effective. But here, everyone shops at the same grocery store and has the same friends. It's like attacking your neighbor. I don't think people appreciate that in a small town election."

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