CHARLESTON – West Virginia apparently will have at least one new Supreme Court justice next year.
Justice Margaret Workman did not file to run again during the filing period that ended at midnight on Jan. 25, according to filings listed online with the Secretary of State’s office. Filings can be mailed in and had to be postmarked by Jan. 25, so the Secretary of State's office could have some arrive in the mail in the coming days.
For the Division 2 seat currently occupied by Workman, Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit was the lone candidate to file until late last week. Then, Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas, Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Raynes and former legislator Bill Wooton all turned in paperwork in the final days of the filing period.
Justice Tim Armstead filed to retain his Division 1 seat, as did Justice John Hutchison in Division 3.
Armstead’s only opponent is former Supreme Court Justice Richard Neely. Hutchison will be challenged by Jackson Circuit Judge Lora Dyer and Charleston attorney Bill Schwartz.
All three of the Supreme Court races are non-partisan. Unless legislation changes The winner for those seats will be determined in the May 12 primary.
The Division 1 and 2 races are for regular 12-year terms on the Supreme Court. The Division 3 race is to fill the seat formerly held by Allen Loughry. Gov. Jim Justice appointed Hutchison to fill that seat in December 2018. The term for the Division 3 seat will end in 2024.
In the Attorney General’s race, incumbent Republican Patrick Morrisey has no primary challenger. Democrats Sam Petsonk and Isaac Sponaugle will face off in the primary. Sponaugle is a delegate representing Pendleton County.
In 2018, Tabit finished third in a special election for two seats on the Supreme Court left by the retirements of Robin Jean Davis and Menis Ketchum. Armstead and Justice Evan Jenkins, both of whom had been appointed by Justice to temporarily fill those seats, won those elections. Douglas, Wooton and Schwartz all ran in the 2018 election as well.