Photo by Anna Cristofano/The Picket

A Blue Town in a Red State: Who will get Shepherdstown’s vote in November?

Shepherdstown, West Virgina is a small college town that prides itself on its inclusivity and positive environment.

Although the town from the eyes of newcomers may give off a very Liberal and pro-Democratic approach to their ideals, the town is still located in a state that has a recent history of being predominately Republican.  

The most popular voting party among students at Shepherd University and some townsfolk was the Democratic Party with 40%, with the Republican Party not far behind it in votes. 

With the West Virginia primary elections coming up on May 14, the citizens of West Virginia, including the residents of Shepherdstown decide which candidates they want to represent them in the presidential and congressional election later this November.  

Resident and former alumni of Shepherd University, Marc Backer is deciding his vote based off the stance candidates take towards some of the more socially controversial issues discussed in today’s political climate.

“I’m placing my vote with someone who gives women the right to choose, as well as gun regulation, free and fair voter access, and no additional tax,” he said.

Some of the top candidates speaking in the upcoming primaries for the Democratic Party are President Biden and Stephen P Lyons, who both are prioritizing the need for better Homeland Security and the immediate action towards Climate Change within their campaign. 

For the Republican party, some of the major candidates speaking at the primaries are former president Donald Trump and South Dakota Govenor Kristi Noem.

Noem emphasizes the importance of family and recognition of girls’ sports throughout the country within her campaign, as well as looking to combat recent inflation during Biden’s time in office.

Trump is prioritizing tax relief for the middle class along with international trade regulations within his campaign.


Poll of Shepherdstown’s political stances. Anna Cristofano/The Picket.

The gap between the Democratic and Republican parties were not as large as an individual would think when looking first glance at the town and university with the percentage of people who have recently voted among the Republican Party being 31.4%. 

The outliers among the poll were those who voted saying their beliefs fall under a more moderate standard and those who have no opinion when it comes to politics in general.  

Shepherd University Freshman Joanna Schoonover shared her current opinions on why she is registered under an independent party, but will be voting blue this November.

“I look for the most on how that voting party deals with international issues, like what is going on in Palestine right now. I also look for where the party puts their funds into as well as how their campaigning goes,” she said.

The poll displays the anomaly Shepherdstown and its more liberal ideals and values while being in a Conservative County like Jefferson County. 

Looking at the local political scene, this year, Shepherdstown is holding Municipal Elections where two candidates, Jim Auxer and James Gatz will compete for Mayor this June.  

Auxer is up for re-election, having been Shepherdstown’s mayor for 20 years. He plans to improve the town by moving money towards renovations for the Market House that will become the towns visiting center, as well as to begin monitoring the growth in population around the town and looking to maintain a buffer. 

Gatz has a resume of over three decades working under the United States Federal Government for the Conference of Mayors and plans to increase support for small businesses as well as the arts and civic community groups within the town, if elected.

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