West Virginia GOP asking Fehrenbacher to withdraw from primary race

WTAP News @ 6 - GOP race
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 5:02 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The West Virginia GOP is asking a House of Delegates candidate to withdraw from the primary race.

Bob Fehrenbacher is running against incumbent Republican Delegate Roger Conley in the May 10th House of Delegates primary in Wood County. However, this race has been contested for several months.

State GOP Director John Findlay said Bob Fehrenbacher was not a registered Republican when he filed papers to run for office in the GOP primary.

Findlay said Fehrenbacher was registered as an unaffiliated voter but swore under oath that he was a registered Republican.

“The forms to file for office are not long forms, they’re short forms. Why didn’t he know? You can look online for your registration status. If you’re a Republican, why not know that? That’s very basic, it’s a very basic test,” Findlay said.

Fehrenbacher said when he signed his candidacy papers in January, he thought he was registered as a Republican. Fehrenbacher changed his registration to Republican after it was pointed out in late March.

“Yes, I have learned a lesson, but it’s unfortunate that the net result is that I believe my opponent is trying to take the choice away from the voters and to me, that is very disappointing,” Fehrenbacher said.

“Why isn’t he asking the voters to vote for him and win this election, then this is a moot point. I am a legitimate candidate and I believe that there are compelling reasons why the voters should vote for Bob Fehrenbacher.”

Fehrenbacher’s opponent, Roger Conley, and the Wood County Republican Executive Committee have also disclaimed Fehrenbacher’s candidacy.

Despite their desires for Fehrenbacher to withdraw, Findlay said they can’t force him to leave the race. This is because no complaint or challenge was submitted within 10 days after the filing period ended.

“Had he been challenged within 15 days of the filing deadline, he in all likelihood would have been kicked off the ballot…because the sworn filing statement was inaccurate. That’s basically the crux of the chairman’s statement,” Findlay said.

Fehrenbacher said while he made a mistake and didn’t know he wasn’t initially registered as a Republican, he says he’s legally able to run against Conley.

“I’m disappointed that he and the local Republican Committee have chosen this tact and frankly, it appears that they are trying to take away the will of the voters,” Fehrenbacher said.

Early voting has already begun in Wood County and election day is May 10th.

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