West Virginia Supreme Court candidates are meeting at 11 a.m. today with the Daily Mail editorial board. We’ll be showing live video of the meeting, plus I’ll post some updates. The meeting should last about an hour.
There are four candidates vying for two 12-year terms. All four candidates run against each other and the two with the most votes win a seat.
Democrat Justice Robin Davis is running for reelection and to keep her seat on the court. Justice Thomas McHugh, a Democrat, is retiring from the bench.
Just a refresher:
Davis, the incumbent, is a Democrat who was first elected to the state’s high court in 1996 to fill an unexpired term. She won a full, 12-year term in 2000. A former attorney in private practice, she has personal wealth that she has used and is using to help finance her campaign. Current Chief Justice Menis Ketchum has called Davis ”the hardest working member of the court and really easy to work with. So, my concern is that we get somebody you can’t work with and/or doesn’t work.”
Democrat Tish Chafin works at the H. Truman Chafin Law Firm in Mingo County ( her husband is Sen. Truman Chafin, D-Mingo). Chafin, who filed to run from Kanawha County, is a former president of the State Bar, a quasi-governmental agency that all the state’s lawyers are required to join and pay fees to. Like Davis, Chafin is using personal wealth to finance this year’s campaign.
Republican Allen Loughry is a current Supreme Court law clerk (he’s assigned to Democrat Justice Margaret Workman). Loughry has changed parties twice in recent memory — first to an independent then to a Republican, just in time for this year’s race. He’s worked for several prominent Democrats, including former U.S. Rep. Harley Staggers, former Gov. Gaston Caperton, Attorney General Darrell McGraw and former Justice Spike Maynard (who became a Republican to unsuccessfully challenge Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., in 2010). Loughry wrote a book on political corruption in West Virginia. In it, he noted that the book — which goes through a litany of publicly available accounts of corruption — could prove problematic if he ever ran for public office. This year, he was the only candidate to opt into a public financing pilot program, but the state Supreme Court struck down a key section of the law. Loughry was able to keep about $350,000 of public money for his campaign.
Republican Circuit Court Judge John Yoder is a former state senator who won his seat on the Berkeley County Circuit Court in 2008. In 2010, he narrowly lost to McHugh in an election for an unexpired term on the Supreme Court.