CHARLESTON – Joanna Tabit’s campaign for a seat on the state Supreme Court has raised more than twice the money than the other candidates combined, which includes two current Justices.
The campaign for Tabit, a Kanawha Circuit judge, has raised $213,215.80, according to campaign finance reports filed this week with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
The campaigns for current Justices Tim Armstead and John Hutchison have raised $68,705.05 and $107,043, respectively. The campaigns for Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas and Charleston attorney Williams Schwartz have not raised funds, according to reports.
“In our first fundraising event alone, we raised more than both 2018 Division 1 and 2 winners raised throughout their entire campaigns last year,” Tabit’s campaign manager Erika Bailey said. “Just as important, our Charleston and Wheeling invitations reflected the endorsement of 406 leaders including mayors, educators, attorneys from both sides of the bar, and other community leaders who have enthusiastically given their endorsement as hosts from each locality.”
Last year, Tabit finished third in a special election for two seats on the state Supreme Court to Armstead and Justice Evan Jenkins.
“This is not a campaign for me,” Tabit said of the 2020 election. “It’s a commitment to the rule of law, the betterment of the judiciary and most important, a commitment to the people of West Virginia. I’m honored to have the support and endorsement of these wonderfully diverse host committees with people from all parties.”
Three of the five seats on the state Supreme Court will be on the 2020 ballot. The non-partisan election will take place during the May 12 primary.
Two of the seats are for positions at the end of the regular 12-year terms. Those are for the seats held by Justice Margaret Workman and Armstead. Armstead was elected last year to finish the term of former Justice Menis Ketchum. The third is a special election to fill the seat that was held by former Justice Allen Loughry. In December, Gov. Jim Justice appointed Raleigh Circuit Judge John Hutchison to temporarily fill the position. The term for the person who wins that seat term will end in 2024.
With Richard Neely announcing his campaign Oct. 9, there now are six people running for the Supreme Court.