Armstead resigns, will run for WV court
CHARLESTON - House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, resigned from the state House of Delegates on Tuesday and will file to run for the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Armstead announced his resignation Tuesday on MetroNews’ “Talkline” radio show and on social media.
“Although the Secretary of State’s Office has said that it is not required that I resign from the House in order to run for the court, I want to ensure that my candidacy fully complies with all state laws and standards of conduct and is above question,” Armstead wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
Armstead is running to fill former Justice Menis Ketchum’s seat, a term that expires in 2020.
He said because the election is in two months, he wants to spend as much time as possible before the election “meeting West Virginians and earning their trust and their vote.”
Armstead was first appointed, then elected in 1998 and has served since then. He has been House speaker for nearly four years.
Tuesday was the last day for those interested to file to run for two vacant seats on the West Virginia State Supreme Court.
The vacancies came amid an impeachment investigation in the West Virginia Legislature and a federal investigation into the court as a whole that so far has led to 11 articles of impeachment in the West Virginia Legislature and two federal criminal cases against Ketchum and suspended Justice Allen Loughry.
Former Justice Robin Davis, who was among the justices impeached, announced her retirement Aug. 14. The seats previously occupied by Davis and Ketchum are those up for election Nov. 6.
Davis’ term expires in 2024, and Ketchum’s term expires in 2020. On the ballot, the election for Ketchum’s seat will be identified as “Division 1” and the election for Davis’ seat will be “Division 2.”
By Tuesday evening, 17 people in total had filed candidacy for the Supreme Court vacancies. Midnight was the filing deadline.
Ten people are seeking the Division 1 seat: attorney Ronald Hatfield Jr. of Huntington, Circuit Judge Chris Wilkes of Martinsburg, Harry C. “Bo” Bruner Jr. of Charleston, Robert H. Carlton of Williamson, Carl E. Hostler of Scott Depot, Brenden D. Long of Hurricane, D.C. Offutt Jr. of Barboursville, Marty Sheehan of Wheeling, Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit of Charleston and former West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead of Elkview.
Seven people are seeking the Division 2 seat: Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas, U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins of Huntington, William Schwartz of Charleston, Dennise Renee Smith of Charleston, Boone Circuit Judge William Stewart Thompson, Robert Frank of Lewisburg and Jim O’Brien of Wheeling.