Kanawha delegate plans to drop re-election bid

CHARLESTON (AP) — A Kanawha County delegate announced Thursday she is dropping her re-election bid.

Republican Suzette Raines said in a text message sent Thursday to media outlets that she plans to withdraw her name from the November ballot.

Due to personal reasons, Raines says she’s unable to withstand what she calls an “ugly political battle” waged against her by the Democratic Party. She says she won’t discuss those reasons.

“It is sad that someone who wants to serve and do what is right for the people is deterred by those who put partisan politics above all else,” Raines said via text message.

The state Democratic Executive Committee filed a complaint against Raines in Kanawha County Circuit Court on July 21. The complaint alleged that Raines doesn’t live where she claims.

The complaint also alleged that Raines hasn’t filed several campaign finance reports or a financial disclosure report, and didn’t sign previous disclosures.

Raines says she and her attorney are working to resolve problems with her filings.

State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said the GOP plans to do everything it can to provide another Republican candidate. House District 35 is based in Kanawha and includes four delegates.

Raines also missed a large part of this year’s 60-day legislative session caring for her ill mother, who passed away in March.

“Suzette is a very close personal friend who I love dearly and want her to do what is best for her,” Lucas said in an email statement. “She’s gone through a great deal of tragedy and personal heartache and I know she will get through this and will be back in public service when the time comes.”

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant hasn’t received a request to withdraw from Raines, said Tennant spokesman Jake Glance.

A candidate or local party committee would have to ask to replace a candidate. Then the five-member State Election Commission would need to vote whether to allow a replacement candidate, Glance said.

The process would need to happen by Tuesday.

The West Virginia Democratic Party said “the facts spoke for themselves” in Raines’ case.

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