CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The chairman of the state Republican Party says the GOP will be “exploring all means necessary” to ensure four Republicans are on the ballot for the four seats in the 35th House District during the November general election.
On Monday, Marie Sprouse-McDavid filed to run as a regular candidate after members of the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee met Saturday and chose her to replace Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines (R-Kanawha).
Raines officially withdrew from the House race last week citing personal reasons.
“She (Sprouse-McDavid) will be on the ballot this fall and we’ll explore any means possible to make sure that happens,” Conrad Lucas, state GOP chair, said.
“We’re not going to sit by and allow the Democrat Party to proceed with patronizing hubris and we’re going to fight back.”
That fight will most likely next move to court.
The Secretary of State’s Office acknowledged the receipt of Sprouse-McDavid’s certificate of announcement and the payment of her $100 filing fee on Monday, but officials said that filing would not be processed until a court ordered the State Election Commission to allow a replacement for Raines to be named.
Last week, the State Election Commission did not find “extenuating circumstances” that would be enough to keep Raines from serving in the 35th House District, if she was reelected to a second term. Because of that, the State Election Commission said her ballot spot would remain vacant.
If a court order reversing that decision is not possible, Lucas said Sprouse-McDavid could also file later to run as a write-in candidate. The first goal, though, according to Lucas, is to get Sprouse-McDavid — who finished 5th in the May primary election — on the ballot.
“The real victims in this, of course, are the citizens of the 35th District. They voted for four Republicans and this fall they should have the opportunity to vote for four Republicans,” Lucas said. “That’s absolutely the best interpretation of democracy.”
Lucas was a guest on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Any gains for the Republicans this fall could change the leadership in the state House of Delegates. The split is currently 53-47 in favor of Democrats.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.