West Virginia secretary of state candidate loses primary and gets bitten by snake while removing campaign signs


A Republican who was running for West Virginia secretary of state has been hospitalized after suffering multiple snake bites while he removed campaign signs on Wednesday.

Doug Skaff, originally a Democrat in the state’s House of Delegates who switched his affiliation to Republican to run, finished second in the Republican primary and is currently in a Charleston, West Virginia, hospital.

Venomous copperhead snakes, one of the most venomous in the United States, bit Skaff in the left leg and right foot Wednesday, according to multiple reports, and he had to be helped by passersby who called for help.

“I just felt like something sharp, and then I grabbed my sign and it knocked me back,” Skaff said. “It may take couple days till they get all this venom out to relieve the pressure on my muscle. Left leg from knees down completely swollen — can’t touch it.”

“It hurts more than I’ve had anything hurt me in my life,” he said.

Democratic Senate candidate Glenn Eliott, who won his primary and will face Gov. Jim Justice (R-WV) in the West Virginia Senate general election, tweeted his well wishes for Skaff.

West Virginia Democratic House Minority Whip Shawn Fluharty joked about the occurrence, saying he “tried to warn him about the snakes in the grass when he joined the WV GOP.” He later said he is friends with Skaff and that he is doing well as of about 11:30 a.m. Thursday.


Skaff told WV MetroNews that he needed to be treated in an ICU and will need more venom reversal medicine. 

Kris Warner, who beat Skaff in the primary 46% to 21%, will face Thornton Cooper in the West Virginia secretary of state general election.

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