A total of 20 candidates running for West Virginia Supreme Court

Records from the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office show a total of 20 candidates are running for the vacant Supreme Court seats left open when Menis Ketchum, left, and Robin Davis retired. (West Virginia Supreme Court)

A former House of Delegates speaker, a U.S. House of Representatives member, a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge and a former Senate president are among candidates running for two vacant West Virginia Supreme Court seats.

With the deadline for applying now past, a total of 21 candidates filed by midnight Tuesday with the Secretary of State’s Office for the two unexpired West Virginia Supreme Court justice terms. One candidate, Carl E. Hostler of Scott Depot, has since dropped out of the race. Hostler said he withdrew to support other candidates.

In Division1, 10 candidates filed to run for retired justice Menis Ketchum’s seat – former House of Delegates speaker Tim Armstead of Elkview; Harry C. “Bo” Bruner Jr. of Charleston; Robert H. Carlton of Williamson; Ronald D. Hatfield of Huntington; Mark Hunt of Charleston; Hiram “Buck” Lewis IV of Procious; D.C. Offutt Jr. of Barboursville; Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Joanna I. Tabit of Charleston; Chris Wilkes of Martinsburg; and Jeff C. Woods of Nitro.

Meanwhile, in Division 2, 10 candidates filed to run for retired justice Robin Davis’ seat – Jim Douglas of Charleston; Robert J. Frank of Lewisburg; Congressman Evan Jenkins of Huntington; former Senate president Jeff Kessler of Glen Dale; Brenden D. Long of Hurricane; Jim O’Brien of Wheeling; William Schwartz of Charleston; Marty “Redshoes” Sheehan of Wheeling; Dennise Renee Smith of Charleston; and William Stewart Thompson of Madison.

Ketchum announced his retirement in July. His retirement created an open seat with a two-year term. Federal prosecutors said Ketchum has agreed in an information to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Davis announced her retirement on Aug. 14. Her retirement creates an open seat with a six-year term.

Davis’ announcement came in the wake of a vote by the House of Delegates to impeach Davis and three other justices on the court, Allen Loughry, Margaret Workman and Beth Walker.

Both Ketchum and Davis’ seats will be on the ballot in the Nov. 6 general election.

To see the list of candidates, click here.

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