CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County delegate cites the ongoing effects of her mother’s death in March and the end of a long-term relationship as reasons for her request to withdraw from the ballot for the Nov. 4 general election.
Del. Suzette Raines (R-Kanawha, 35) said she would file her withdrawal paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office by Monday afternoon. She first announced her decision last week.
“I’ve had a very, very difficult time over the last year and struggled to just take care of day-to-day responsibilities as an individual and, at the time that I filed (to run in January), I was very hesitant because I knew all the things that were going on in my life and didn’t realize that the worst was yet to come,” Raines said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“It’s just the responsible thing to do at this juncture and I hope to have an opportunity to have an impact in the future.”
Last month, the Democratic Party filed a complaint against Raines claiming she lied about where she was living and had not met several candidacy filing requirements.
Raines admitted she had missed filing deadlines, but denied the residency issues. “I have never lived outside of my district,” Raines maintained.
The question now is whether the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee can replace Raines on the ballot with less than three months remaining before the general election. Fred Joseph, committee chair, told MetroNews last week the committee intended to do so, if possible, by choosing from those in “a large group” that had shown an interest in running.
A request to name a replacement must be filed with the State Election Commission this week.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, it’s up to the State Election Commission to determine if there are circumstances that prevent Raines from serving, if elected. If no such circumstances are found, her spot on the ballot will be left vacant.
Raines said she believes she cannot serve. “I fear that if I would go on with the campaign I may not have my personal and professional life in order to be able to serve when the time comes,” she said. “I love public service. I love campaigning. I still will be involved in the community in some capacity but right now is just not the time for me to be a candidate.”
Here is the full statement Raines planned to submit with her withdrawal paperwork:
I need to withdraw from the race for a seat in the 35th Delegate District because of personal issues flowing from the death of my mother this past March. She passed after an extended battle with cancer and I was with her constantly in the last year of her life. She was initially diagnosed with a seemingly early stage of lung cancer that had a high cure rate. After being deemed cancer free and in remission in late October of 2013, her condition began to rapidly deteriorated despite numerous scans and radiology reports that indicated there were no abnormalities.
During this increasing difficult time I also ended an engagement after a 7-8 year relationship. As a result, I struggled from this deep void in my support system while simultaneously attempting to establish a new and safe home. The details of those challenges I do not wish to discuss.
In January 2014 my mother’s healthcare providers determined the radiology reports indicating no abnormalities were inaccurate and a PET Scan revealed a more aggressive and rapid growing form of the disease had quickly spread throughout her body.
After losing my father to metastatic colon cancer in 2004, my younger brother and I were (proudly) our mother’s primary caregivers throughout the last stages of her life.
The deterioration of nearly every aspect of my life has taken a significant toll on my emotional well-being, my career and ability to provide for the increased financial demands as I now assume responsibility for my mother’s obligations and properties, coupled with the immense grief after the tragic and unexpected loss of both parents at a young age.
Upon the advice of medical professionals, I have chosen to eliminate pressures and distractions in my life that do not allow me to fully address the grief that flows from this great loss. I am hopeful to return to public service at some point in the future, but for now I must choose to step away from that arena in order to deal with this loss. Remediating the debilitating impact the events of the last year have had on my life are essential to restoring my health in order to rebuild my life both personally and professionally. It is with deep sadness and regret that I acknowledge my ability to serve to my full potential if successful in the November 4, 2014 election would be compromised as a result of the aforementioned circumstances.
I filed for re-election in January 25, 2014 with the knowledge that the prognosis for my mother was not good, but never did our family imagine what was just around the corner. I prayed for the best in terms of her health. Mistakenly I believed despite the outcome for my mother, whose life was cut far too short, I would be healthy and capable of moving on with all aspects of my life, including public service. It simply requires more time to heal and I would be unable to serve if elected at this time in my life.
The most responsible course of action is to seek permission to withdraw from the 2014 election.
Raines was first elected to the state House of Delegates in 2012. She does plan to serve out her current term in the state House of Delegates which runs through the end of this year.