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W.Va. State Senate candidate bows out

Mistakenly registered as Democrat, Moltere can't change parties in time for primary

Mistakenly registered as Democrat, Moltere can't change parties in time for primary

January 07, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A State Senate candidate in the upcoming Republican Party primary election withdrew from the race last week after discovering he mistakenly registered as a Democrat nearly 10 years ago.

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

Moltere 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 news release. "When I submitted my precandidacy registration as a Republican (last month)... I was unaware that I was not a registered Republican."

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In an interview Friday, Moltere said the error was never caught because he never voted in primary elections, when party members are tasked with nominating their own candidate.

"It was devastating," Moltere said of the discovery he made on Jan. 2. "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 news 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.

Republicans Archibald Magill Smith Morgan of Rippon, W.Va., and Bob Adams of Charles Town, W.Va., also have announced their candidacy for the 16th Senate district seat.

Former State Sen. Herbert S. Snyder, a Democrat from Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., has also announced a bid to regain the seat he lost to Yoder four years ago.

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