CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The chairman of the state Democratic Party says the State Election Commission was right to take no action that would give the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee the opportunity to replace Del. Suzette Raines (R-Kanawha) on the ballot for the November general election.
“It was a bipartisan decision. There are Republicans and Democrats on that commission. They were very consistent to how they had treated and made decisions in the past and, actually, it was unanimous,” Larry Puccio said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“All folks have made a decision that it would be unfair to throw someone on the ballot.”
The state Republican Party, though, is expected to challenge the inaction in court.
Raines withdrew from the ballot in the 35th House Delegate District last week citing personal reasons that, she said, would have kept her from serving if reelected.
Despite the election commission’s decision, Marie Sprouse-McDavid—who finished fifth in the race for four Republican nominations in the 35th District in May—filed Monday to run in Raines’ place.
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 only be processed if a court ordered the election commission to allow a replacement for Raines to be named.
Puccio said, if so ordered, Sprouse-McDavid’s candidacy would open the floodgates. “Then anybody could have a problem to say, ‘I just don’t feel comfortable serving if elected,’” he said.
Conrad Lucas, chair man of the state Republican Party, has said the GOP will “explore any means possible” to make sure Sprouse-McDavid’s name is on the November ballot.
There are four seats in the 35th House District with control of the state House of Delegates in play this November. Democrats currently hold a 53-47 edge in the House.
Last month, the state 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 missed filing deadlines, but denied the residency issues. “I have never lived outside of my district,” she maintained.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.