CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — One of the biggest races that people were voting on Wednesday in the city of Charleston is for the Capital City’s mayor. Incumbent Mayor Amy Goodwin is seeking a second term, but she has opposition.
Charleston’s current mayor is a Democrat, but in a state that has gone heavily red in recent years, the mayor’s Republican challenger Lance Wolfe is being taken seriously.
Goodwin is trying for her second term in office, while Wolfe is a political newcomer.
Charleston’s famed Sternwheel Regatta came back in 2022, along with other big tourist events. And The City Center at Slack Plaza was developed, into a multi-use park. Mayor Goodwin’s backers say all are having a positive economic impact.
“The mayor has done an exceptionally good job. And we should get behind her to encourage her to continue to do good. I’ve seen so much good since she’s been mayor,” said Thomas Toliver, a Charleston voter.
But there are critics. The most common complaints are about panhandlers and the homeless, or unsheltered population.
“Everyone knows that the homeless situation here in Charleston is the number one problem that we have, just like other cites also,” said Jerry Waters, a Charleston voter.
While some would like to see vagrants put on buses and sent back to their hometowns, others here urge compassion.
“I mean they are people, too. We got to help them out just as much as anyone else,” said Khalil Burton, a Charleston voter.
Charleston is the state’s most populous city, and of course, is the Capital City. What happens here, can often be a bellwether for what happens in other cities across the Mountain State.
As for the candidates for mayor, the incumbent says her team is out working the problem in-person.
“What we did was, we put together a five-member care team, during a global pandemic, by the way, to make sure that we are meeting people where they are,” said Goodwin.
But with recent criminal activity, the incumbent mayor’s opponent does not think her efforts are nearly enough.
“It’s all related to the homeless situation and the drugs that we have in Charleston. And we just need to clean it up. We need to corral those people who are criminal vagrants,” said Wolfe.
“I am going to vote for Amy Goodwin for sure,” one voter told us.
“Of course I am going to vote for Lance Wolfe,” countered another voter.
“I’m undecided right now,” said another voter who is still assessing the candidates.
The vote is now less than two weeks away.