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Raines withdraws from House race

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, officially withdrew as a candidate in the 35th District House of Delegates race Monday afternoon.

Raines, who was the subject of a complaint by the state Democratic Executive Committee in Kanawha Circuit Court to remove her from the ballot, filed the notice of withdrawal of candidacy with the secretary of state’s office at 12:55 p.m.

The complaint contends that Raines failed to file campaign disclosure and financial disclosure reports with the secretary of state’s office and state Ethics Commission, and raised issues about her place of residence.

In a statement accompanying the notice, Raines cited personal issues, including the death of her mother in March, as the reason for withdrawing from the election.

“Had I realized the things that were going to happen in my personal life, I would not have filed,” Raines said Monday of filing for reelection in January. Raines’ mother, Yvonne, died of cancer on March 23.

In a statement she submitted with her notice, Raines said, “Upon the advice of medical professionals, I have chosen to eliminate pressures and distractions in my life that do not allow me to fully address the grief that flows from this great loss. I am hopeful to return to public service at some point in the future, but for now I must choose to step away from that arena in order to deal with this loss.”

Raines added, “It is with deep sadness and regret that I acknowledge my ability to serve to my full potential if successful in the Nov. 4, 2014 election would be compromised as a result of my aforementioned circumstances.”

It is not immediately clear if the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee will be able to appoint a nominee to take Raines’ place on the Nov. 4 ballot in the four-member 35th District, made up of southwestern parts of Kanawha County, including St. Albans, Dunbar, South Charleston, and parts of Charleston.

State election law allows appointments in cases where the candidate becomes incapacitated or in the event of “extenuating personal circumstances which will prevent the candidate from serving in the office if elected.”

The State Election Commission, a five-member panel that administers state election law, will have to meet in emergency session, review the circumstances of Raines’ withdrawal, and determine whether to permit the appointment of a replacement candidate.

According to Jake Glance, spokesman for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, the county Republican Executive Committee late Monday afternoon requested a meeting of the State Election Commission. A time and date for the emergency meeting had not been set as of Monday evening.

“It will be up to the five-member SEC to decide whether the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee will be permitted to name a replacement for Suzette Raines on the ballot,” Glance noted. “If the SEC does not give permission, then voters will see “No Candidate Nominated” in Raines’ place.”

Earlier Monday, Raines she did not request a meeting of the State Election Commission, after being advised the executive committee would be making the request.

“I want to help them appoint someone to that slot, but that wasn’t my objective today,” Raines said, explaining why she did not request the meeting herself.

The deadline for the executive committee to appoint a nominee, if authorized to do so by the State Election Commission, is Aug. 18.

Raines, meanwhile, said she hopes to resolve issues regarding the filing of disclosures with the secretary of state’s office and Ethics Commission as quickly as possible, and said she’s looking forward to a respite from politics.

“I’m relieved to become a private citizen again,” she said.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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