CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party calls claims of election law violations from the state Democratic Party, aimed at two Republican House candidates, unfounded.
“I’m very confident that our candidates, both Melissa Lewis and Suzette Raines, will be on the ballot this November and both win and be part of the Republican majority (in the state House of Delegates) for the first time in 84 years,” Conrad Lucas said.
Earlier this week, attorneys for the state Democratic Party filed legal complaints in both Preston County and Kanawha County, asking that Lewis and Raines, respectively, be removed from the ballots for the Nov. 4 general election.
In Preston County, the allegation is Lewis, the Republican candidate for the 52nd House district, changed political parties from Democrat to Republican too late — five days before filing to run for office. State law requires that party switches happen more than 60 days before filing.
Additionally, Democrats claimed Lewis is ineligible to run because she lived in Monongalia County, outside of District 52, within a year of the election. Lewis is challenging longtime Delegate Larry Williams (D-Preston, 52).
Residency could also be an issue for Raines.
In Kanawha County, Democrats claimed Del. Suzette Raines (R-Kanawha, 35) does not live at the St. Albans address she’s listed in campaign filings and has not met paperwork requirements for campaign finance reports and financial disclosures. She is seeking a second term in the state House.
“This is a part of the patronizing hubris that is the culture of the Democrat Party and a distraction tactic,” Lucas said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “We understand that Democrats, particularly in these two delegate districts, can no longer win on the merits so they’re trying to win by nit-picking and filing frivolous lawsuits.”
Larry Puccio, chairman of the state Democratic Party, was scheduled to be a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” to talk about the legal filings.