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Judge Orders Candidate Removed From Primary Election

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Brian Turner
/
Wikimedia Commons

Updated on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 5 p.m.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom has ordered West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner to remove Republican state Senate candidate Andrea Kiessling from the ballot days before the May 10 Primary Election.

In a complaint filed last month, it was claimed that Kiessling violated the constitutional requirement that she be a West Virginia resident for five years before the election.

After a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Duke Bloom asked Kiessling’s attorney, the secretary of state, and the attorney who filed the complaint to enter their responses. Those were received earlier today, and the judge had already ruled against Kiessling.

Bloom would not say when Kiessling had made West Virginia her residence, but said it was clear she did not meet the five year standard.

The judge ordered Warner to:

  • Withdraw the certificate of candidacy
  • Direct all election officials to disregard any votes Kiessling receives. 
  • Post signs in 8th District voting locations that Kiessling is ineligible. 

Warner’s office had urged the judge to wait until after the election but indicated it will comply with the order in a statement. “An emergency meeting of the State Election Commission will meet as early as Thursday afternoon or Friday to implement the order of the judge. We plan to comply with the judge’s orders in the counties that make up the 8th Senatorial District.”

Original Post:

The West Virginia Secretary of State says a judge should wait until after the primary election to rule in a candidate’s residency dispute.

Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom asked all parties to file briefs Wednesday on how they think the case should be decided after a hearing held Tuesday morning.

The complaint claims District 8 Republican Senate candidate Andrea Kiessling violated the constitutional requirement that she be a West Virginia resident for five years before the election.

The complainant's attorney argued documentation proves Kiessling was a North Carolina resident during much of the required five years.

Kiessling’s attorney argued evidence shows the candidate maintained West Virginia residency.

Bloom asked that the Secretary of State’s office also offer an opinion.

That response said the 800 or so Republican voters that have already cast ballots as of Wednesday in District 8 must not be disenfranchised, that the complaint comes too late according to state code, and that Bloom should wait until after the election to make any decision.

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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