FEDERAL JUDGE RULES THAT “SORE LOSERS” CAN BE ON BALLOT
A ruling yesterday by a Federal judge in North Carolina should put one of West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Melody Potter’s concerns to rest. Melody had said she was concerned that a ruling by the West Virginia Supreme Court allowing me access to the fall election ballot would cause West Virginia to be a “legal outlier.” Melody should find comfort in the fact that a Federal Judge’s ruling to allow three “sore loser” candidates on the ballot in North Carolina is nearly directly on point with my case. In North Carolina, the state Legislature, much like West Virginia, enacted a "sore loser" law in June that would have prevented the three Constitution Party candidates from appearing on the ballot in the November general election. All three candidates had previously lost in the primary election held in May –two in the Republican primary and one in the Democratic primary. The judge held that the retroactive application of the "sore loser" law to the Constitution Party candidates violated their rights and said that the court was unaware "of any legislation that has been found constitutionally sound when enacted during an election cycle that disqualifies previously qualifying candidates from appearing on the fall ballot.” The West Virginia Legislature didn't pass their so called “sore loser” law until after I was already a candidate in the Republican primary, and the bill did not become effective until June when I had already begun the process of running as a candidate for the Constitution Party in the fall. The West Virginia Supreme Court should reach the same conclusion as did the North Carolina Federal Judge, by reversing Secretary of State Mac Warner’s denial of my right to be on the fall ballot. Melody should now be in my corner in this suit given that a decision by the West Virginia court to keep me off the ballot would make West Virginia a “legal outlier.” Robert Bastress, constitutional law professor at West Virginia University School of Law is representing me in this action.