UPDATE: GOP appoints Marie Sprouse-McDavid to fill 35th District - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: GOP appoints Marie Sprouse-McDavid to fill 35th District vacancy

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UPDATE:

The West Virginia GOP might have a candidate to fill a vacancy left on the November ballot, regardless of the State Election Commission not allowing them to fill it with a write-in candidate.

On Aug. 19, Marie Sprouse-McDavid filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office as a candidate to represent the 35th House of Delegates District.

Over the weekend, the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee met and voted for Sprouse-McDavid to fill a vacancy on the ballot created by extenuating personal circumstances for Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha.

Sprouse-McDavid did not file as a write-in, but as a regular candidate to appear on the General Election ballot in November.

"We are proud today to add 2014 Primary Candidate Marie Sprouse-McDavid to our General Ballot in Kanawha County for House of Delegates. Marie is another strong conservative business owner and job creator who campaigned valiantly this spring," said West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas. "She will give voters another quality choice who will stand up for our coal and energy jobs, and fight to make West Virginia a place where you can stay, work and prosper.

"We expect to have her as one of four Republican candidates on the official printed ballot in November and will pursue all means to ensure that voters have every choice available in the best interest of Democracy. Democrats will not be allowed to litigate themselves into maintaining a majority in the House of Delegates as they cling to the last vestiges of power."

Original Story, Aug 13:

The State Election Commission decided Aug. 13 to leave a vacancy in one Republican candidate slot for the House 35th District of West Virginia.

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, decided to withdraw from the race that, had she won, would have put her in office for two more years.

Raines, after the West Virginia Democratic Party raised allegations that she did not file proper ethics paperwork and voted under an address she did not live, decided to withdraw from the race but opted to continue to serve the rest of her term.

The SEC was charged with deciding if it would grant the Kanawha County GOP the ability to replace Raines on the ballot, due to her “extenuating” circumstances. However, the commission was not swayed by the email and letter Raines provided as documents for her case. She also was not present for the determination.

During the meeting, the election commission heard from several members of the public including members of the West Virginia Republican Party.

Mark Carter, representing the West Virginia Republican Party, said Raines' decision was based on medical advice and financial demands she could not meet while serving the district if she won.

“She recognizes it's not possible,” he said. “The Legislature empowered this commission to make the right decision.”

However, those with the Democratic Party argued otherwise.

Anthony Majestro, attorney for the Democratic Party, said Raines attended parties and campaigned "just fine" after her mother passed away in March and she recently broke up with her boyfriend.

“If you allow the party to dump a candidate who shows electoral problems, this withdraw happens during very serious allegations,” Majestro said. “I think the commission can take into account if it's exceptional circumstances rather than tough political problems.”

Majestro said according to Raines' Facebook page, she attended several events and did not look like she was having trouble dealing with the loss.

“Ms. Raines is not even here to explain why she had to do what she did,” he said. “We don't believe that's credible evidence designed to prevent parties from playing games with the system.”

Chairman of the SEC Robert Rupp said it was not decided that a medical issue a Mingo County delegate was facing would allow for him to withdraw from his term, and while he sympathized with Raines, there was just not enough extenuating circumstantial evidence for the commission to allow the GOP to select a new delegate.

However, Rupp also argued the commission could not let outside sources such as Raines' Facebook page to make a determination. He said the SEC had to use the documents they were provided with, which were ultimately not enough.


“We're working with these documents,” he said.