CHARLESTON – The Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee on Monday filed a petition with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to get a replacement House of Delegates candidate on the ballot this fall.
Marie Sprouse-McDavid and the committee filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus directly with the state Supreme Court to allow McDavid's inclusion on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
The state Supreme Court will hear the case Tuesday, Sept. 30, according to its updated docket.
Because of a 30-day statutory notice requirement when suing state agencies, Monday was the first day such a petition could be filed legally because the State Election Commission chose not to waive the notice requirement.
The SEC was to file its response by Thursday, according to Secretary of State spokesman Jake Glance.
The named defendants are the SEC, Natalie Tennant as Secretary of State and as a member of the SEC and fellow SEC members Robert Rupp, Gary Collias, Taylor Downs and Vincent Cardi.
Earlier this year, Delegate Suzette Raines decided to withdraw from the ballot for the general election, and that request was granted by the State Election Commission.
However, the SEC then denied the right of the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee to fill Raines' spot on the ballot. The committee named Sprouse-McDavid as its choice to take Raines' place on the ballot, but the Secretary of State's office then denied her right to file for the office.
"The SEC again met in a closed-door emergency session and determined a court order would be required for them to follow precedent and allow citizens to have a full ballot in the 35th District," West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said.
"Citizens in the 35th District have no other choice but to go to court to resolve this matter," Lucas said Monday in a press statement. "Our hand has been forced. Today's filing speaks to the very premise of our nation's existence – the right of people to choose their own representation.
"The State Election Commission has gone to every length possible to deny citizens their rights and we are now left with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court to uphold longstanding precedent. We look forward to a quick resolution to this matter and for democracy to prevail."
Charleston attorneys Mark Carter of Dinsmore & Shohl and Mark Adkins of Bowles Rice filed the complaint for Sprouse-McDavid and KCREC.