CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party is defending the questions raised about two Republican House candidates in court filings this week.

Those filings — in Preston County and Kanawha County — call for the removal of Melissa Lewis and Suzette Raines from the November ballots because of alleged election law violations.

“I think the people of the state want to know if someone’s not complying with our laws,” Larry Puccio said when asked about the filings on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “All we’re saying is, ‘The law is the law.’ Everybody else in the Legislature must comply.”

In Preston County, the allegation is Lewis, the Republican candidate in the 52nd House district, changed political parties from Democrat to Republican too late, just 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).

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 repeatedly not met paperwork requirements for campaign finance reports and financial disclosures. She is seeking a second term in the state House.

“She is a lawmaker. She should not be above the law. She should comply with the law,” Puccio said of Raines.

Raines told The Charleston Daily Mail questions of her residency were “disgusting” and “very hurtful.” She said there were times, during the past year, when she was caring for her sick mother who has since died.

However, she told the newspaper she has never lived outside of the 35th District she currently represents.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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Comments

  • Bob

    I have to agree with Mr. Puccio on this one. How can a lawmaker expect to be let off the hook for breaking the law? WOW! They should probably do the right thing and remove themselves from the ballot. Tough break but the law is the law.

  • Fransisco Scaramanga

    Chafin is the worst of the worst when it comes to this. Bob Kiss did the same thing. Had a p.o. box/office in Beckley, but lived in Charleston. Chafin should be thrown out of office since he does not live in the district. Poochie is a hypocrite. Hope a dog bites him!

  • Sarah

    Republicans say, "Laws? We don't care about laws."

    Remove them from the ballot. This is a no brainer.

  • RunnerGal

    Seriously?

    “I think the people of the state want to know if someone’s not complying with our laws,” Larry Puccio said when asked about the filings on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “All we’re saying is, ‘The law is the law.’ Everybody else in the Legislature must comply.”
    Ummmm, doesn't Chafin count in that scenario as well? Represents Mingo Co. yet resides here in Charleston 99% of the time. Kids go to school here? Pretty ballsy of Pooch, considering.......

    • Sarah

      Ha! If the GOP thought that they would have filed against him.

  • Jay

    Hey Butch2, why dont you file the suit and go after him.

  • Butch2

    What about Truman Chafin? Our State Republican Executive Committee should file an ouster suit to remove him from office. He doesn't live in his district, his wife filed to run using Kanawha Co. as her address, and their kids go to school there. Also, his home in Mingo Co. is for sale. Let's remove this guy and make him also play by the rules.

  • Butch

    Don't you know that Republicans only care about Democrats breaking the law? It is OKay when they do it.

  • Jay

    How about checking out Ryan Ferns and the rest of the Republican candidates that Ethics committee claims did not file papers. The GOP either has to cheat or BUY it.