CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice announced at the end of a press conference today that he has chosen Dan Greear, currently general counsel for the House of Delegates, to be appointed to an open Kanawha circuit judge position.
Greear, who was attending the press conference, was as surprised as anyone when the appointment was announced.
“Absolutely. I had no idea. Obviously I was very hopeful and felt I had a good chance at the appointment but had no communication with the office directly, and it’s quite an exciting finish to the morning,” Greear said.
Justice said he saw Greear among those in attendance and just decided to go ahead and make the announcement.
He will fill the seat that was vacated with the retirement of longtime Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jim Stucky.
The seat is also up for election this fall. The person elected in November will serve the remaining six years of the unexpired term.
The state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission last month submitted the names of four Kanawha County lawyers for possible appointment.
The names sent by letter to the governor include Dan Greear, Ben Mishoe, Gary Pullin and Tera Salango.
Greear and Salango, a Charleston attorney and former Kanawha County assistant prosecutor, have both filed pre-candidacy papers to seek the judgeship in the November vote.
Greer said he isn’t sure yet when his departure from the legislative staff will be.
“I really don’t. This is as new a thing for me as it is to you,” he said today. “Obviously there’s a lot of issues going on in the House of Delegates right now and certainly want to tie those up and get my duties passed off in an orderly fashion. But we’ll work that out in the near future. I look forward to being on the job as quickly as I can.”
Greear ran for Kanawha circuit court in 2010, losing to Democratic incumbent Carrie Webster, a former state lawmaker, in the general election.
In this case, Greear would be serving on the bench while also campaigning for the unexpired term.
“Absolutely. That’s a given. There’s a campaign in November, and certainly I think the best thing I can do as far as the campaign is handle this job effectively,” Greear said.