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Kopp beats Queen to win

nomination for circuit clerk

by Alecia Sirk


(May 13) Mike Queen said Tuesday that name recognition and popularity were the keys that brought Donnie Kopp a nearly 41 percent victory over Queen in the Democratic race for Harrison County magistrate.

Kopp, who turned out in suspenders and tie at the courthouse, said he was elated about the amount of voter support he received. Since becoming a magistrate eight years ago, he said, earning the office of circuit clerk has been his goal.

"It's a wonderful feeling to have so much support," he said.

Charles Hall ran unopposed for the magistrate seat on the Republican ticket. He and Kopp will face of in the November general election.

Kopp stepped down from the office of magistrate in January to run for circuit clerk. Because of the move, he said, he has worked three jobs while campaigning: manager of Fox's Pizza, a karaoke DJ for New Age Entertainment and as a referee.

If elected in November, Kopp said one of his main concerns for the office is to solve the problem of storage. The county has mounds of paper records stored, he

said, and he would like to see those converted to microfilm.

Queen said he wants to be around to make sure Kopp follows through on the issue -- an issue that Queen said Kopp didn't take up until the last few weeks of his campaign.

"I can't take anything away from Donnie. He's very popular, but he's clearly not the most qualified," Queen said. "I want to make sure that Donnie follows through with computerizing those records."

Kopp was voted in on name recognition, Queen said. A portion of the name recognition Queen spoke of is that of Kopp's father, who was a former Speaker of the House of Delegates. In addition, Kopp has held the elected office of magistrate for the past eight years.

To be sure the court records are safely converted, Queen offered, Kopp might want to set up an advisory committee. Queen also said he would be willing to serve on that committee.

Queen said he is not bitter about the loss, and Kopp would have the support of the Queen family in the general election.

"He was looking for a job to get on the payroll and I had an agenda," Queen said. "I don't agree with his style of politics. I ran a good race and focused on the issues. We didn't get negative."

Kopp, whose conversations at the courthouse were frequently broken by people running up to congratulate him, said that he had no lengthy response to Queen's allegations Ñ including that some of Kopp's supporters defaced Queen's signs during the race.

"I ran a clean campaign," he said. "I never said a bad word about anybody and I had nothing to do with his signs."

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