CHARLESTON – With less than 100 days before the election, Beth Walker is campaigning full-time for a seat on the state Supreme Court of Appeals.
“We continue to be very busy, traveling all across West Virginia,” Walker said. “We’ve been going full steam every day since June 11. But, to be honest, I really enjoy traveling around the state and meeting people. So, there are no complaints here.”
Walker is one of five who have filed for one seat on the bench. The other candidates include incumbent Justice Brent Benjamin, former Justice and state Attorney General Darrell McGraw, former state legislator Bill Wooton and Clay County attorney Wayne King.
“I talk to voters all of the time about my conservative vision for the Supreme Court,” said Walker, who also ran for a position on the court in 2008. “A court that follows the law, the rule of law and decides cases based on the rule of law wit no politics or any other factor.
“As we are trying to move West Virginia forward, we have to work hard to erase any negative perception of our court system and the state Supreme Court.”
Walker said the crowded field doesn’t change her message or how she campaigns.
“Regardless of the other candidates, we are staying on our message that we need to have a fair, impartial and non-political court,” she said.
Walker did say the late entry of McGraw into the race was unexpected.
“I was not aware that he was going to file, and I haven’t talked to anyone who was,” she said. “I was surprised, but I welcome the chance to contrast my vision with his.”
Starting this year, all judicial elections in West Virginia are non-partisan. That means the candidates aren’t tied to political parties. It also means the May 10 primary is the only election for judicial seats.
“Folks are starting to talk about this fundamental change in our judicial elections,” Walker said. “They have questions about how it works, and I’m answering them when I’m out on the campaign trail.”
She also said she is hearing concerns about having an activist court.
“Voters understand that when we have a court that legislates from the bench, that’s not good for West Virginia,” Walker said. “I hear a lot of people talking about that, and I welcome the support of anyone who agrees that we have three separate branches of government. The Supreme Court isn’t meant to legislate from the bench.”