CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia candidates filed Saturday for Congress, state treasurer, attorney general and other offices as the midnight filing deadline neared, in advance of the May 8 primary.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin also gained a Democratic primary challenger, Arne Moltis. Veteran Supreme Court staff lawyer Louis Palmer, meanwhile, joined an already crowded Democratic field for the high court.
The filing period ended Saturday with nearly 290 people filing for federal, statewide and legislative offices. The Secretary of State's office will accept mailed-in filings postmarked by midnight.
"There were actually some people who were waiting for us to open up the office today," said Jake Glance, a spokesman for Tennant. "There's been a steady stream of people."
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito drew another primary challenge, Republican Michael Davis of Elkins, in the 2nd Congressional District. Delegate Jonathan Miller of Berkeley County has also filed for the GOP nomination. The Democratic candidates are Howard Swint of Charleston, Dugald Brown of Martinsburg and Jefferson County's William McCann. Capito is seeking a seventh term.
Rep. Nick Rahall filed Saturday for a 19th term representing the 3rd District. Though he's unopposed in the Democratic primary, Republicans Lee Bias of Cabell County and Bill Lester of Raleigh County are vying to challenge him in the fall. Democrat Sue Thorn of Ohio County has filed in the 1st District, where freshman GOP Rep. David McKinley is unopposed in his party's primary.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed West Virginia to rely on its new congressional redistricting plan for these U.S. House races, even though that map remains the subject of a federal court challenge.
State Sen. Mike Hall filed for treasurer. Another Putnam County Republican, assistant county prosecutor Steve Connolly, entered that race on Thursday. Treasurer John Perdue is unopposed in the Democratic primary. So is Attorney General Darrell McGraw, though Republican Pat Morrisey has filed to challenge him in November. Morrisey, 44, filed six days after he was admitted to practice law in West Virginia, according to the State Bar's online directory. Morrisey is a partner at the Washington, D.C., law firm of King & Spalding and is a former GOP congressional aide and committee lawyer.
Tomblin is running for a full term as governor after winning last year's special election, which was prompted by Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin's 2010 election to the U.S. Senate. Moltis also ran in 2011, receiving less than 500 votes in the primary. Republican Bill Maloney is seeking a rematch with Tomblin after losing the special general election by less than 3 percentage points. He first must fend off Ralph William Clark, who also ran last year and attracted less than 2 percent of the GOP primary vote.
In the two-seat Supreme Court race, the 55-year-old Palmer added his name to a Democratic field that already included Justice Robin Davis, circuit Judges Jim Rowe of Greenbrier County and J.D. Beane of Wood County, and former State Bar President Tish Chafin. Jefferson County Circuit Judge John Yoder and Supreme Court law clerk Allen Loughry are seeking the Republican nods.
Tennant, the secretary of state, is unopposed in the Democratic primary. She would face freshman Delegate Brian Savilla, R-Putnam, in the general election. Auditor Glen Gainer is similarly assured a primary win, as is Republican challenger Larry Faircloth.
Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass is not seeking re-election. Four fellow Democrats have filed to succeed him: agency officials Steve Miller, Bob Tabb and Joe Messineo, and Sen. Walt Helmick of Pocahontas County. The primary winner would take on Republican Mike Teets, who came close to winning the office in 2010.
At least one legislator has vowed to ensure any candidate for agriculture commissioner has made agriculture his chief business for at least the last 10 years, as state law requires.
All 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up for two-year terms, while half the 34-member Senate faces re-election to four-year terms. More than 200 people filed for the House, in the 67 districts drawn to conform to population changes following the 2010 Census. The 17 Senate races, which also follow redistricting changes, have attracted 27 candidates. Democrats hold the majority in both chambers.
President Obama has a Democratic primary challenger on the West Virginia ballot, Keith Russell Judd of Texas. Republican presidential contenders Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have filed in the state's GOP primary.
More than 125 West Virginia Republicans have filed to become delegates to their party's national convention. Nearly 40 of these delegate candidates are pledged to Romney, while 24 are backing Gingrich. Another 19 are committed to Paul and 49 are undecided.