The Twenty-second Delegate District Democrat Executive Committee will meet this evening in Hamlin to select the names of three individuals to submit to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, according to a party announcement.
State Democrat Chairman Larry Puccio has announced that the committee will meet on today (Thursday, July 25), at the Lincoln County courthouse. The meeting will be convened at 6 p.m. One of the three people chosen will replace former Delegate Josh Stowers, who resigned to accept a position with State Treasurer John Perdue.
According to state law, the delegate district committee has 15 days from the effective date of the resignation (July 15) to choose the names of potential replacements. The governor then has five days to select the person who will complete Stowers’s unexpired term, ending in December 2014. While the law requires that the replacement be of the same political party as Stowers, it does not order that his replacement come from the same county. As long as the replacement lives in the Twenty-second District, he or she is eligible as the replacement, Puccio said.
The Twenty-second District is composed of most of Lincoln County, and portions of Boone, Logan and Putnam counties.
Members of the committee are Rachael and Keith Stephens of Boone County; Laytonya Stowers and Ed Triplett of Lincoln; Johnny Sloan and Debra Hardesty of Logan; and Dan Cook and Imogene Burdette of Putnam.
Puccio has said that former State Senator Tracy Dempsey, as Lincoln County Democrat chair, will call the meeting to order. One order of business at the Tuesday meeting will be the election of a chair to preside over the meetings. Additionally, Puccio said any questions as to the procedures to be used in the selection process will be discussed at the July 23 gathering. He said he expects no formal votes or decisions during that meeting.
Then, on Thursday, the committee will meet to choose the three nominees. Among those rumored to be in the running are Danville Town Manager Josh Barker of Boone; and Dempsey, School Board member Gary McCallister and businessman Chris Fleming of Lincoln. Committee member Triplett and his sister, Gloria Triplett, have also been mentioned as possible candidates. While some have speculated that the Stowers replacement should come from his home county of Lincoln, others have said that factional in-fighting in Lincoln might preclude Tomblin from picking a Lincoln Countian.
The governor is expected to be on vacation next week but will return to quickly make his decision, according to a spokeswoman. Because of the timing, however, the district will be represented only by the other sitting Democrat, Jeff Eldridge of Lincoln, during legislative interim committee meetings next week in Charleston. Those meetings will conclude before the delegate district executive committee makes it recommendations, if all goes according to plan.