Senator Robert Karnes was first elected to the WV State Senate in 2014 and again in 2020.

Part of the Republican Revolution in WV, Robert helped set the tone for a pro-business, pro-jobs and educational reform agenda. This was the beginning of West Virginia’s turn from 84 years of failed democrat party leadership, and the beginning of building a firm foundation for West Virginia’s economy and offering hope for West Virginia’s children.

Robert was born in South Charleston, WV. He grew up in Nitro and graduated from Poca High School in 1987. His ancestors arrived in the central WV mountains in the 1820s, long before we became an independent state. His family has been involved in exploring, timber, mining, education, agriculture and business throughout West Virginia history.

Karnes has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years and has worked in all 50 US states. He has lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee and Washington State, but has always considered WV home. Robert has owned and operated several businesses including IT Services, retail sales and self-storage.

Robert and his wife Amy will soon celebrate 30 years of marriage. They have 8 children.

For Robert serving in the WV Senate was a chance to create hope for WV’s kids. Nobody wants to see our children forced to chase jobs in other states, Robert decided to seek political office to ensure they have jobs and opportunities here at home.

While in the WV Senate Robert chaired the Committees on Natural Resources, Agriculture & Rural Development and Pensions. He also chaired the Select Committee on Tax Reform and Vice Chaired the Education Committee. Robert has also served on several other Committees including Judiciary, Health, Labor, and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

Successfully serving in these roles resulted in Robert being an integral part of the conservative leadership in the WV Senate while building strong relationships with conservatives in the West Virginia House of Delegates. He used that role to more effectively advocate for the 11th district. 

A few examples; when the governor wanted to log state parks to fill holes in the budget, Robert helped blunt that effort by insisting any proceeds from logging be used to pay for improvements to the park where the timber came from. Holly River in Webster and Watoga in Pocahontas stood to suffer or benefit the most. He helped municipalities in Upshur and Grant County negotiate the DEP regulatory minefield related to water and sewer treatment. He worked to keep coyote control funding flowing to help farmers in Pendleton. 

He has delivered on local Economic Development Projects throughout the 11th District, helping local students build hi-tunnels, improve park facilities, replace bridges for Upshur Youth Camp, assist Senior Centers with vehicles, HVAC and other repairs, help volunteer firefighters purchase gear, and a variety of other projects. 

Karnes also helped prevent the loss of magistrates in Randolph and Nicholas counties where caseloads were too high to justify the reductions while adding additional circuit judges to deal with the surge in drug related crimes brought about by Joe Biden’s open border policies.

During his tenure in the WV Senate Robert:

    • Helped protect and enhance our 2nd Amendment Rights with Constitutional Carry.
    • Protect our Christian Values.
    • Defend the most vulnerable among us with a real parental consent law and ending taxpayer funded abortion with 2018 Amendment 1.
    • Stop the largest tax increase in WV history.
    • As chair of the Tax Reform Committee designed the plan to reduce and eliminate the WV State Income Tax and then fought for the plan until we finally started the cuts in 2023.
    • Reform our legal system to ensure everybody is treated fairly in civil and criminal court.
    • Improve our education system.


Robert is ready to build on his strong, constitutional, conservative, pro-Christian, pro-growth leadership in the West Virginia State Senate.