On Feb. 9, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled in favor of Gov. Jim Justice’s (R) appointment to the West Virginia House of Delegates District 19.
On Jan. 22, the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee nominated Joshua Booth and two others to replace Rep. Derrick Evans (R), who resigned after being charged with entering a restricted public building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Gov. Justice approved the nomination and formally appointed Booth on Jan. 27.
According to West Virginia law, the executive committee of the political party that holds the seat can submit a list of three candidates to the governor in case of a vacancy. On Jan. 13, the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee sent three names to Gov. Justice: Mark Ross, Chad Shaffer, and Jay Marcum.
Justice’s chief of staff, Brian Abraham, told the committee Justice wanted a new list of names because Acting Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee Roman Stauffer was not involved in the original nomination process. The second nomination list included Mark Ross, Chad Shaffer, and Joshua Booth. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, after Justice formally appointed Booth on Jan. 27, the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee petitioned the state’s court of last resort “to force the governor to choose from the first list of candidates submitted, saying state law doesn’t give the governor discretion to reject the list provided by local party executive committees.” On Feb. 9, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia heard the case and ruled in favor of Gov. Justice. Booth was sworn in the following day.
As of Feb. 11, there have been 23 state legislative vacancies in 18 states this year. Eight of those vacancies have been filled, with 15 vacancies remaining. Booth is one of three Republicans to fill vacancies from 2021.