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W.Va. state Senate candidate withdraws from race over party registration mistake

January 05, 2008|By

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. ? A candidate for the West Virginia 16th District Senate race withdrew from the race this week after discovering he mistakenly had registered as a Democrat nearly 10 years ago.

"Evidently, I can't change parties before the filing period (which begins Jan. 14)," said Ronald Jean Moltere, 64, of 45 Carter Lane in Harpers Ferry.

Moltere had announced his bid for the seat being vacated by state Sen. John Yoder after the incumbent opted to declare his candidacy for a 23rd Judicial Circuit judgeship.

"As a result of much stress at the time when I checked off the voter registration party choice (in March 1998), I mistakenly checked Democrat instead of Republican," Moltere said in a press release. "When I submitted my pre-candidacy registration as a Republican (last month) ... I was unaware that I was not a registered Republican

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Moltere said Friday that the error never was caught because he never had voted in primary elections, when party members nominate their own candidates.

"It was devastating," Moltere said of the discovery he made Wednesday. "I felt like I was shot through the heart."

Though he contemplated running as a Democrat after discovering he was registered as such, Moltere said in the release that he came to a conclusion that he could not run for the Democratic Party if he were "to be honest with myself and my convictions."

"I apologize, and I want to thank all those who supported me and encouraged me for this race because I felt that I could and would represent the citizens of the 16th District to make positive changes, to make true and effective tax reforms that would have stimulated long-term growth creating opportunities for West Virginians," Moltere said in his announcement.

Three other candidates have announced they will run for the 16th District seat.

Former state Sen. Herbert S. Snyder, a Democrat from Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., is hoping to regain the seat that he lost to Yoder four years ago. Republicans Bob Adams of Charles Town, W.Va., and Archibald Magill Smith Morgan of Rippon, W.Va., also have announced they will seek the 16th District seat.

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