CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw is urging Gov. Jim Justice to fill a new vacancy in the House of a Delegates with a Republican already on the ballot for the November General Election.
A seat opened up in the House Saturday night when now former Del. John Mandt, R-Cabell, submitted his resignation. He said his focus and priority needs to be on his family and his business. The resignation came hours after various reports about screenshots from a Facebook group chat where Mandt allegedly made comments that were anti-gay and anti-Muslim.
Mandt said the screenshots were fabricated.
Hanshaw has condemned the comments.
“I don’t care who said it – it’s wrong and I want everyone to know there is no place for hatred or bigotry in our state, our political discourse or the West Virginia House of Delegates,” Hanshaw said Saturday night.
During an appearance Monday on MetroNews “Talkline,” Hanshaw said he hadn’t changed his mind but he said he still has no proof who is responsible.
Hanshaw said his concern now is getting Mandt’s seat filled.
“We expect Gov. Justice to act on that very quickly,” Hanshaw said. “I’ve already been in touch over the weekend with the various parties involved in making that appointment and I have every reason to believe that will be done in short order.”
Hanshaw favors Republican Mark Bates for the seat. Bates won a Republican nomination in the 16th District race in the June primary. Hanshaw said it would make sense to appoint him to the House because he’s on the fall ballot.
“That is exactly what we would expect to happen here,” Hanshaw said.
The Republican Party Executive Committee that covers the 16th Delegate District will submit three names to Gov. Justice for Mandt’s replacement. Justice will then have five days to name his replacement.
General Election ballots for Mandt’s name on them have already been printed and in some cases mailed to voters. He said Saturday that he’s ending his reelection bid.