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Robinson wins in Kanawha assessor race

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A heated race for Kanawha County assessor ended with a Democratic victory when Sallie Robinson defeated Forest Carper. 

Robinson took 57.03 percent of the vote to Carper's 42.86. Robinson received a total of 38,113 votes to Carper's 28,640.

Write-in candidate Cody Britton, 22, of Jefferson, garnered 75 votes.  

Robinson and an entourage of about 75 supporters showed up at the Kanawha County Voters Registration Office to celebrate her victory when it became apparent.

"I feel great," Robinson said.

She does not plan to make many changes in the office once she takes over the position. However, she plans to meet with her "transition team" in the coming days to discuss any possible changes that could be made.

"Our office is mandated by state law, so there's not a lot of changes we can make," she said.

However, Robinson said she would look at making small changes to office administration, such as exploring using an online time clock.

"It's easier for bookkeeping in the office," she said.

Carper said he was unsure what he could have done different in the campaign. This was Carper's first attempt at a public office. The 69-year-old was unsure if he will run again.

"I just want to thank the people who did support me," he said. "We gave it our best."      

Robinson is a longtime employee in the assessor's office. She has worked in the assessor's office since 1980.

She left the office in 1983 to work at First National Bank in Belle but returned to the office in 1985.

She has been Assessor Phyllis Gatson's administrative assistant for a little over 10 years.

Carper has worked a variety of jobs over the years, including meat cutter and commercial and residential builder.

The campaign was often heated.

Carper accused a Robinson campaign volunteer of stealing one of his election signs. He also accused Robinson and some other employees of campaigning on county time.

Robinson hotly denied the claims, saying that neither she nor her supporters in the office had campaigning while on the clock.

She also denied the allegation that one of her supporters, a man who currently works in the assessor's office, stole any signs.

 Robinson acknowledged that the campaign became heated. However, she claimed that she did not go negative.

"I took the high road in the primary and I took it during the general election, too," Robinson said.

Carper did not believe the negative tone of the campaign turned any voters against him.

Robinson won the Democratic nomination during the May primary, taking 40.1 percent of the vote. She defeated County Engineer John Luoni and Eddie Belcher to secure the nomination.

Carper handily defeated fellow Republican John Jarman with 64.8 percent of the vote.   


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