CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Election Commission denied a request Wednesday from Republicans to replace Kanawha County Del. Suzette Raines on the November General Election ballot.

The request came from the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee after Raines, R-Kanawha, officially withdrew from the race this week. The election commission has the power to replace a candidate if it decides the reasons for the withdraw are enough to keep the candidate from serving if they were to be elected. The commission decided Wednesday Raines’ reasons were not enough to allow Republicans to fill the now empty ballot position.

Commission member Gary Collias said Raines has had a tough time in her personal life but it doesn’t meet the standard the commission has to follow.

“Her mother died in March of this year and she broke up with her boyfriend and I just have difficulty seeing those two circumstances as so extenuating that she’s not going to be able to serve as a delegate,” Collias said.

Friends and colleagues of Raines argued the circumstances have changed the delegate.

“You do not get over something like that overnight,” Raines’ friend and fellow Republican Melody Potter told the commission. “I know we are all involved in politics here but this is really about peoples’ lives and the voter’s rights.”

House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Armstead argued it was in the best interest of the election panel to make sure voters had as many choices as possible. But commission member Taylor Downs said the commission must be consistent. The commission denied a similar request involving a Mingo County officeholder earlier this year.

“He had a sworn affidavit and a letter from his doctor and that was not enough in our minds (for extenuating circumstances), so it’s important for this commission, as much as possible, to have some sort of consistency,” Downs said.

The 35th Delegate District will now have three Republicans and four Democrats for the four available seats in the November vote. There is nothing preventing a write-in candidate from entering the race.

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  • Jack McFarland

    The Rethuglicans are very good at crying and whining... the can always dish it out but they sure cannot take it!
    Raines should have been at the hearing. Where was she? Nobody knows she's in hiding... sounds like a true servant of the people to me! Sounds like Dick Cheney

  • marko

    at the BOOKMAN... Democrats are better at SPINNING THE STORY?!?!?! you should have your own comedy show LOL
    Raines has lied over and over and over and she was caught. She and her friends including Melody Potter (who seems to always pop up when the GOP needs a spinster) are claiming the ability to serve and run for reelections comes down to breaking up with a boyfriend? PLEASE!!!!!!! This sounds like JERRY SPRINGER material.

    • The bookman

      Read for content, not react to what you assume I am saying. Try again.

  • The bookman

    To the victor go the spoils. Elections mean things, and those who win get the power to appoint. Like it or not, it is what it is. If there are Democrats who are in violation of election laws, then file the complaint. Otherwise, it's sour grapes, or at least the appearance of sour grapes.

    Ms. Raines chose to withdraw for personal reasons under the specter of this investigation. No resolution to the violations will occur, and it really matters not at this point. The facts are Republicans are frustrated that the Democrats play hard ball. I am frustrated that the Republicans don't play hard ball well.

    • Ken

      You mean "Mailgate" isn't playing hard ball well? (Please note the sarcasm.)

      • The bookman

        Democrats are simply better at playing the political game. They are better at spinning the story, and they play to win. Republicans often stop short of victory. I wish they were better at the game.

        The sympathetic character here is Raines, but the argument is framed perfectly by the Democrats. They would never allow the story to be shaped in the way that it is, true or false. They are masters of shaping public opinion and hand the Republicans their hats every time.

        • liberty4all

          Are you speaking of a local/state level or a federal level? Either way I would disagree and can point to examples where both sides are successful in "playing" politics and shaping opinion. It is one of the reasons I left the Republican party to become a Libertarian. Is Karl Rove, et al not as shrewd as any democratic operative? I really don't care to start a whole lengthy thread, but the way in which corporate America, whose interests are largely advanced by Republican legislators, shape the public opinion is astounding both in the success and the money dedicated to it. On a state level, I recently started looking at the WV Record (which by the way is funded by the Chamber - in an effort to shape opinion regarding lawsuits). In addition to its efforts to shape opinions regarding the need for tort reform, it has become an arm of the Patrick Morrisey public relations campaign. It is probably a result of so many associated with corporate propaganda (I mean you, CALA) going to work for the AG's office.

          Ultimately I believe both sides do it equally well, to the detriment of the American people. It long ago became more about keeping or gaining power and less about doing the right thing for our country.

          • Spencer

            Liberal vs Conservative, you are correct but breaking down the issues is a much different outcome.

            Regardless, this issue that we are discussing is the correct decision based on the law. There are consequences to bad decisions and the republicans really need to stop carrying on as if they should have exceptions to the rules.

          • The bookman


            I'm on record several times on this issue that Raines left this race on her own volition, and that to leave while being pursued for violations of the election rules most likely implicates her as guilty. I have no problem with the choice to not replace her on the ballot, and think the SEC decision is consistent with the Mingo County Case involving a Democrat.

            My point is simply the Republicans all to often whine about the Democrats playing the game of politics, but it is only because the Democrats are better at the game than Republicans attempt to be. You can say that most people relate to their perspective, but I think polling indicates more people consider themselves conservative than liberal.

          • Spencer

            If you think Democrats frame their argument better, it is simply because most Americans agree with their points.

            Republicans spin their "facts" to try to frame them to be more agreeable.

            This isn't a case of "framing" anything though. Delegate Raines made bad decisions that caused her to break election laws. Her mother dying may be the reason she made bad choices but it still doesn't rationalize breaking the law.

            Those facts aren't spin. If the democrats won this argument, it is because they are right. No spin, just the truth.

          • The bookman

            Oh they all try to do it. They just aren't equally as skilled. Republicans do a horrible job of framing their arguments, even when the facts are on their side. Democrats bring a better political skillset to the fight, and win the battles.

  • Aaron

    Earlier another poster said "In my opinion she withdrew so as to avoid further proceedings on the Complaint. Because she is willingto serve the remainder of her term and her decision to withdraw did not come until she was potentially in "hot water", I am not convinced the personal issues in her life were the compelling reasons."

    Perhaps the fact that Democrats undertook an aggressive, public campaign to smear her name at the most horrific time of her life added to her emotional distress and plays a role in her inability to serve if elected!!!

    • liberty4all

      That earlier poster was me. I am entitled to my opinion as you are to yours. In light of the fact that she admitted to some of the violations in the Complaint filed against her, I believe my interpretation of the circumstances is more consistent with facts. Surely you are not excusing violations of the rules are you? If so then please remember to be consistent when it is a Democrat that admits to violating the rules. Partisanship lends itself to hypocrisy, especially when one demands so much from elected officials of the opposing party.

      • Kasey

        If in fact she did commit violations during her campaign, in the state code, it says that under those circumstances, if she was found guilty of violations, that the republican executive committee could place someone in her spot automatically, without even going through the Elections committee. So her withdrawing before violations are determined to be true or not does not help the Republican party in any way. If this is some big plot for her to withdraw because of those violations, they would have advised her to stay on the ballot. This is clearly a decision she made due to her own personal situation.

      • Aaron

        As I am an Independent voter and not a Republican I could care less about party affiliation.

        As to her admitting to violations, do you have a link? I read stories from the Daily Mail, the Gazette, WCHS News, WSAZ News and WOWK News and I saw no admittance to any of the allegations. Several stories included comments in which Raines stated she and her attorney were working with officials to resolve the issues alleged but that is hardly admitting guilt.

        I'm curious, have other candidates in WV lived outside their district or had issues with filing paperwork in strict accordance with the law and still been allowed to run? I understand that you likely do not have a definitive answer to that question but I'm sure the WVDNC does and if they know of circumstances in which Democrats were guilty of what they accused Raines of and still filed their complaint then it is nothing more than a witch hunt.

        In my humble opinion, of course.

        • liberty4all

          I listened to her interview on Hoppy's show where she acknowledged not filing the necessary paperwork. Why else were her and her attorneys trying to "resolve issues". What issues would have to be resolved if she were in compliance with the law? As justification she claimed because she was not campaigning she did not think she had to file. At the Commission meeting today there were references to her own Facebook page as well as her appearances at various political functions which indicate she, in fact, was campaigning.

          As for your voter registration, I think your views on issues and office holders as enunciated in your posts speak volumes more than what you call yourself. This is all fine and certainly your prerogative. Heck, as a Libertarian I agree with some of your views on the role of government, etc . . I simply ask for you to be consistent when it is a Republican who breaks the rules.

          Finally, if there are Democrats who break the rules, then file the complaints and let them be heard. If they have violated the rules let the law dictate the consequences.

    • Michael

      She lied. No excuse for lying.

      • Aaron

        If that's the conditions then how do we have elected representatives?

        • Ken

          Lying and committing documented fraud AND getting caught doing it is pretty unique. (Even in WV)

  • Stephanie


  • SusieQ

    The unfair part of this is that the voters in the 35th Delegate District are being cheated and are being disenfranchised. They have the right to have the option of choosing to vote from four Republicans and from four Democrats on the General Ballot. The WV Sec of State should have recused herself since she is a candidate on the ballot.
    Furthermore, Code says someone may withdraw due to extenuating personal circumstances in which case, someone can be appointed to the ballot. "Extenuating" is obviously open to interpretation of the Election Board. I guess you would have to suffer beheading by the Taliban to be considered "extenuating". How very sad.

    • Lance

      That is a ridiculous comparison. Completely ridiculous.

      • Monty Burns

        I like her comarison. Lance Bass.

        • Lance

          Not shocked by that with the level if critical thinking skills you've displayed.

  • Bob

    For all of you who thinks this decision was wrong or partisan:
    1) They did the same thing to a Democrat from Mingo.
    2) There are Republicans on this commission as well.
    3) Its hard to argue non-partisan consistency.
    4) It was the right decision, plain and simple.

    • liberty4all

      And none of the Republicans on the Commission made the motion to allow a substitution on the ballot.

      • Bob

        That is exactly right. It was unanimous that the circumstances did NOT allow a replacement.

  • Rob C.

    I work so hard but all I do is help the Democrats lock in seats. Darn those Democrats for out-smarting me again.

  • Voter

    This makes my blood boil. It really makes me want to just vote a straight GOP ticket even if there are only 3 for 4 openings. Ms. Tennant has lost all credibility at this point as well. I hope she gets crushed by a landslide.

  • Marcus

    She lied. She got caught. She quit. She screwed the Republican Party.

    That's it in a nutshell.

  • Bill

    More bonehead decisions from the great state of Kanawha. Lol. Unbelievable. Now they are doctors too.

  • Robert

    It's just politics. Their decision smells bad. You will never get a fair shake in this state unless you have a politician in your pocket. This is the most corrupt and politically rich state outside the beltway of DC. When did this board become psychologists or psychiatrists. Geez, I'm an Independent but would have approved this request. This is patronage being paid so there is no competition. End of story.

  • RunnerGal

    "So it's important for this commission, as much as possible, to have some sort of consistency". So, where's the consistency in residency requirements for Truman Chafin? Oh, wait, that's right. He's on the majority side. You know, the "Home Team". At least I think that's what Senate President Kessler referred to the Democratic Party when scolding Evan Jenkins for moving to the "Visitors Team". Yep, no partisan politics up in here. Riiiight...Way to stack the odds in your favor WV Dem Committee.

    • Hondo

      RunnerGal, I could not agree more with you. That is why it important to retake the House of Delegates and the Senate this year. Or at least gain as many republican seats as possible. Eventually the liars and cheaters like Truman Chaffin are going to have to "pay the piper" one day.

  • Ray

    How come no one says anything about Truman Chafin, his wife and kids living in a million dollar Charleston house but he represents the 6th district?

    • Monty Burns

      Ray, I have been mentioning that just about every time a Raines story has been written. You are dead right. He lives in South Hills and does not reside in Mingo County. The Republicans need to go after him now for not residing in his district.

      • Appikid

        Of course! They rule to stay in power! It is up to the people! This is just the dems trying to keep control! Vote against them! I saw this coming! It is all about keeping power!

  • hillbilly

    At least the commission was consistent..

    • Gary

      Say what? Lol.