Commission Approves Changes for Judicial Elections

By Kabler, Phil | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 16, 2015 | Go to article overview

Commission Approves Changes for Judicial Elections


Kabler, Phil, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


State Election commissioners on Friday approved preliminary changes to bring state election regulations in line with new laws and court rulings. That includes changing rules for public financing of state Supreme Court campaigns to reflect a new law (HB2010) that will make the elections nonpartisan, beginning in 2016.

Under the 2010 law allowing Supreme Court candidates to publicly finance their campaigns, candidates could receive up to $350,000 for the primary and $525,000 for the general election.

With the new law, all judges will be elected in a single, non- partisan election coinciding with the May primary in election years.

The proposed rule change would clarify that in future elections, Supreme Court candidates will be eligible for only the $525,000 of public financing for the single, nonpartisan election.

With the new law, Supreme Court candidates who run unopposed for office will not be eligible for any public campaign financing.

Previously, candidates running unopposed in the primary could receive up to $50,000 in public financing. The only candidate to date to run a publicly financed campaign, Justice Allen Loughry, received about $13,000 of public financing when he ran unopposed in the Republican primary in 2012.

However, Tim Leach, legal counsel for the secretary of state's office, noted it would be highly unlikely to have a candidate run unopposed for the single, nonpartisan Supreme Court election.

"That would be a very, extremely rare instance, he said. …

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