Judge: W.Va. Senate candidate deemed ineligible
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Kanawha County circuit judge has disqualified a local candidate for the West Virginia Senate.
The order invalidates the candidacy of Andrea Garrett Kiessling, a Republican, for state Senate District 8. The newly drawn district will represent portions of five counties -- Kanawha, Putnam, Jackson, Roane and Clay.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom ruled that Kiessling has not been a resident of West Virginia for at least five years -- a requirement of state code.
The judge instructed election officials to disregard and not tally any vote cast for Kiessling. He further ordered clerks to post signs at all polling places stating that she is ineligible.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Mac Warner says the Secretary respects the courts ruling and has no plans to appeal. He said Warner would soon convene an emergency meeting of the state elections commission, perhaps Friday, to comply with the order in affected counties and precincts.
Absentee voting in the state’s primary has been ongoing for two months, estimated spokesman Mike Queen. He said, as of Wednesday morning, 686 Republican ballots had been cast. That is in addition to 310 independent voters, although, it is unclear which party’s ballot they had cast.
The Secretary of State’s office had argued a challenge to Kiessling’s candidacy should have been filed much earlier, Queen said.
The Kiessling campaign could not be reached for comment.
Kiessling, of Spencer, is one of four candidates who filed to seek the GOP nomination. Others are Josh Higginbotham of Cross Lanes, Mark Hunt of Charleston and Mark Mitchem of Clay.
Those four have been vying for a nomination to take on incumbent state Senator Richard Lindsay, D-Kanawha, in November. He is unopposed in the Democrat primary.
Copyright 2022 WSAZ. All rights reserved.