CHARLESTON — Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit has filed pre-candidacy papers with the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office to run in the 2020 state Supreme Court justice race.
"It's 52 weeks — one year — from the primary election day in 2020," Tabit said in an interview May 14 with The West Virginia Record. "I was excited and energized to do it because of the support I received in my first statewide race."
Tabit came in third in November out of 20 candidates running to fill two seats that were vacated last summer by former Justices Robin Jean Davis and Menis Ketchum.
"It was a really compressed election cycle and I think our message really resonated with voters," Tabit said. "I look forward to getting back out there are reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones during the campaign trail."
Filing pre-candidacy papers gives candidates the opportunity to begin fundraising.
"The 2020 Supreme Court election is going to be really important," Tabit said. "We're electing at least two Supreme Court justices, and that's 40 percent of your court."
Tabit came in third in the 2018 special election behind Justices Tim Armstead and Evan Jenkins. That election cycle was just 12 weeks. Tabit missed the Division One seat by 3.84 percent.
In her 2018 campaign, Tabit said she wanted the court to be "fair, effective, responsive, accessible and accountable."
"I have spent my entire professional life in the courtroom," she said in a previous interview. "Twenty-eight years as a trial lawyer trying cases and the last four years as a judge in one of the busiest circuits in the state, trying and presiding over complex cases. I do the work of the court every day."
Tabit has been a circuit judge in Kanawha County since 2014. She now is chief judge of the Kanawha Circuit Court. She also worked as a law clerk for retired Justice Thomas McHugh when she graduated law school.
Tabit is the third to file pre-candidacy paperwork for a seat on the court. Armstead recently did the same, and Charleston attorney William Schwartz did earlier this year.