House Judiciary Chairman Moore Capito resigns Legislature to focus on campaign for governor

House Judiciary Chairman Moore Capito is resigning that legislative position to concentrate on his run for governor.

“I want to spend every moment I can listening to West Virginians so I can effectively and responsibly serve as their next governor,” Capito wrote in a House resignation letter.

“This commitment, I have determined, requires that I relinquish my legislative role while pursuing the governorship, which will also avoid even the appearance that the politics of a campaign¬† might distract from the work of the legislature.”

The regular session of the West Virginia Legislature begins Jan. 10. The vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has been Delegate Tom Fast, R-Fayette.

Capito, the Republican son of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, announced his run for governor last year.

He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2016. He was named chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 2020. Much of the non-financial legislation comes through Judiciary, so it is considered a key committee.

Capito has campaigned for governor as a “get it done conservative.” His letter expressed satisfaction over legislative actions over the past few years.

“Together, we installed the most conservative agenda in West Virginia’s history,” he wrote.

“We turned massive budget deficits into surpluses, provided record-breaking tax relief to families and businesses, passed pro-growth economic policies that spurred job creation, put the state on a responsible path to phasing out the income tax, expanded our energy industry, promoted entrepreneurship and innovation and increased educational opportunities for our children.”

In addition to the written resignation, Capito appeared with Gov. Jim Justice at an administration news briefing today and announced the move. Both Moore Capito and Senator Capito have endorsed Justice’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Justice’s introduction referred to Moore Capito as a “great friend.”

“It was an honor to serve in the House of Delegates, and I have been honored,” Capito said of his constituents at the briefing.

Gov. Jim Justice

At the end of the briefing, responding to a question from reporter Charles Young of West Virginia News, Governor Justice said Capito’s announcement on the administration’s official livestreamed news briefing should not be interpreted as a political endorsement.

“Moore’s a very honorable, good, good man, and I’m pleased that we’ve got multiple candidates and everything and I’ll make a decision as we go forward if I want to get involved,” Justice said.

“But from the standpoint, you should not interpret this as any way other than the fact that Moore contacted us. I found out about it last night, and everything, that Moore wanted to come in and hand deliver or give us his resignation. He’s been our Judiciary chair in the House for eight years now, and he’s done a heck of a nice job, and he’s a great young man and an incredible family.”

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