Update: Raines officially withdraws

August 11, 2014 by Dave Boucher

UPDATE (1:15 p.m.): Delegate Suzette Raines has officially withdrawn as a candidate for House of Delegates in the 35th District.

“Suzette Raines has officially withdrawn as a candidate,” said Jake Glance, spokesman for the West Virginia Secretary of State.

The lawmaker noted personal issues–and not Democrat legal filings accusing her of breaking the law–as the reason why she cannot pursue re-election. (More on her personal statement is below).

Raines or the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee still need to formally  ask the State Election Commission for permission to replace her on the ballot for the No. 4 general election.

State laws says the commission must determine a candidate has “extenuating personal circumstances which will prevent the candidate from serving in the office if elected,” in order to allow for a replacement.

Raines or the county GOP must make their request by close of business Tuesday. If the commission grants the request, the county must pick a candidate by Aug. 18.

This is a developing story. Check back in for updates throughout the day.

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ORIGINAL (10:50 a.m.): Although Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, is officially still on the November ballot–as of 10:50 a.m. today–she told the Daily Mail she’ll file her withdrawal paperwork this morning.

(Jake Glance, a spokesman for the West Virginia Secretary of State, confirmed Raines had not filed her withdrawal paperwork this morning.)

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, cited the reason death of her mother and the end of a long romantic relationship as to why she cannot run for re-election. Raines officially withdrew this morning.

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, cited the reason death of her mother and the end of a long romantic relationship as to why she cannot run for re-election. Raines officially withdrew this morning.

Raines announced last week she would withdraw in the wake of legal actions and allegations from Democrats.

Raines, 30, provided a copy of a personal statement she said she plans to submit with her withdrawal.

She noted two personal issues in particular as the reason she cannot attempt a bid for re-election: the death of her mother and the end of an engagement “after a 7-8 year relationship.” Raines writes:

“The deterioration of nearly every aspect of my life has taken a significant toll on my emotional well-being, my career and ability to provide for the increased financial demands as I now assume responsibility for my mother’s obligations and properties, coupled with the immense grief after the tragic and unexpected loss of both parents at a young age.

Upon the advice of medical professionals, I have chosen to eliminate pressures and distractions in my life that do not allow me to fully address the grief that flows from this great loss. I am hopeful to return to public service at some point in the future, but for now I must choose to step away from that arena in order to deal with this loss. Remediating the debilitating impact the events of the last year have had on my life are essential to restoring my health in order to rebuild my life both personally and professionally.

The full statement is included at the end of this post.

Democrats filed legal action in late July that states Raines did not submit paperwork required of political candidates and lied about where she lives.  Raines did turn in campaign finance forms to the Secretary of State and a financial disclosure to the state Ethics Commission, but she did so months after they were due.

The delay raised legal questions state officials argued show conflicting sections of state law.

Raines lived in St. Albans with her longtime boyfriend until relationship problems in the fall of 2013. At this point she said they lived in a different home on the same property, although they were not in a relationship, until April.

She said she stayed at the hospital during the same time while she took care of her mother, who died in March at the age of 59. She said she never lived outside of the 35th District, which she represents.

After the death of her mother and ending her romantic relationship, Raines said she, “struggled from this deep void in my support system while simultaneously attempting to establish a new and safe home.”

“The details of those challenges I do not wish to discuss,” she writes in the statement.

Raines never acknowledges or addresses any of the Democrat’s allegations in her statement.

Noting the death of her father in 2004 at the age of 54, Raines gives a brief description of her mother’s illness and states she has increased obligations and responsibilities following her mother’s death.

She admits filing for re-election while her mother was very ill, but said she underestimated the time it would take for her to grieve. She writes

“Mistakenly I believed despite the outcome for my mother, whose life was cut far too short, I would be healthy and capable of moving on with all aspects of my life, including public service. It simply requires more time to heal and I would be unable to serve if elected at this time in my life.”

In 2013 Raines initially said she would run for the state Senate, then hinted at a run for U.S. Congress. Eventually she cited her mother’s poor health as reasons to not pursue either position.

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, officially withdrew as a candidate for House of Delegates today.

Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, officially withdrew as a candidate for House of Delegates today.

Assuming Raines withdraws today, Republicans need to move swiftly in order to replace her on the ballot. Raines or the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee need to officially ask the State Election Commission to allow them to pick a new candidate by Tuesday.

The county GOP can only pick a new candidate if the commission determines Raines had “extenuating personal circumstances which will prevent the candidate from serving in the office if elected,” according to state code.

Republicans serve in three of the four seats in the 35th District, but Democrats were confident before Raines’ announcement they could pick up at least one seat this November.

The general election is Nov. 4.

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FULL RAINES STATEMENT:

I need to withdraw from the race for a seat in the 35th Delegate District because of personal issues flowing from the death of my mother this past March. She passed after an extended battle with cancer and I was with her constantly in the last year of her life. She was initially diagnosed with a seemingly early stage of lung cancer that had a high cure rate. After being deemed cancer free and in remission in late October of 2013, her condition began to rapidly deteriorated despite numerous scans and radiology reports that indicated there were no abnormalities.
During this increasing difficult time I also ended an engagement after a 7-8 year relationship. As a result, I struggled from this deep void in my support system while simultaneously attempting to establish a new and safe home. The details of those challenges I do not wish to discuss.
In January 2014 my mother’s healthcare¬† providers determined the radiology reports indicating no abnormalities were inaccurate and a PET Scan revealed a more aggressive and rapid growing form of the disease had quickly spread throughout her body.
After losing my father to metastatic colon cancer in 2004, my younger brother and I were (proudly) our mother’s primary caregivers throughout the last stages of her life.
The deterioration of nearly every aspect of my life has taken a significant toll on my emotional well-being, my career and ability to provide for the increased financial demands as I now assume responsibility for my mother’s obligations and properties, coupled with the immense grief after the tragic and unexpected loss of both parents at a young age.
Upon the advice of medical professionals, I have chosen to eliminate pressures and distractions in my life that do not allow me to fully address the grief that flows from this great loss. I am hopeful to return to public service at some point in the future, but for now I must choose to step away from that arena in order to deal with this loss. Remediating the debilitating impact the events of the last year have had on my life are essential to restoring my health in order to rebuild my life both personally and professionally. It is with deep sadness and regret that I acknowledge my ability to serve to my full potential if successful in the November 4, 2014 election would be compromised as a result of the aforementioned circumstances.
I filed for re-election in January 25, 2014 with the knowledge that the prognosis for my mother was not good, but never did our family imagine what was just around the corner. I prayed for the best in terms of her health. Mistakenly I believed despite the outcome for my mother, whose life was cut far too short, I would be healthy and capable of moving on with all aspects of my life, including public service. It simply requires more time to heal and I would be unable to serve if elected at this time in my life.
The most responsible course of action is to seek permission to withdraw from the 2014 election.

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