|A little over a year removed from an impeachment scandal that included pricey renovations of court offices, the West Virginia Supreme Court’s lineup is about to finish its own complete makeover, barring a last-second filing.
There are far fewer names for the three races in May than there were for two spots up for grabs in a November 2018 special election. What the races lack in numbers, they make up with cash.
Missing from the list of nine candidates is Justice Margaret Workman, whose 12-year term also ends this year. Saturday was the deadline for candidates to have their papers postmarked. Three seats are up for grabs on May 12.
Workman did not file precandidacy papers for re-election. She did not respond to a request for comment last week.
If the 72-year-old Workman retires, it would mark the last piece in a court turnover over the past four years. Three justices joined the five-member court in 2018. Beth Walker, who was elected in 2016, is the court’s senior member. The last time all five justices were replaced occurred over a four-year span in the late 1990s
Judicial elections in West Virginia became nonpartisan in 2016. In 2018, the court’s impeachment scandal stirred political attacks and some Democrats argued the court’s shakeup was a power grab by Republicans. Regardless of what Workman decides, career Republicans would retain control of the Supreme Court.
While 20 candidates filed for two open seats in the 2018 special election, this year’s races prompted just nine candidates for three races.