Commission to discuss Tebay issue
By PAMELA BRUST
PARKERSBURG Two issues will be discussed today by the Wood County Commission over the withdrawal of a candidate in the primary election.
Republican Bob Tebay, a former county commissioner, on Monday announced he would withdraw for health reasons from the May primary election for county commission.
County commissioners are scheduled at 9:30 a.m. today to discuss procedures for primary election day and post-election in light of Tebay’s withdrawal.
To be addressed are, first, notification of voters on primary election day that Tebay has withdrawn his candidacy and, second, how the commission as the board of canvass will handle votes cast for Tebay.
The deadline to withdraw as a candidate in the primary was Feb. 11.
On Monday, Tebay notified the clerk’s office in a statement that he wished to withdraw for health reasons.
County Clerk Mark Rhodes contacted Prosecutor Jason Wharton to discuss the procedures that should be followed, which are in the election laws. Election officials then informed Tebay his statement had to be notarized.
On Tuesday, Tebay provided the notarized statement.
“After reviewing the code and case law, there is nothing that addresses withdrawal of a candidate after the deadline for reasons of health,” Rhodes said.
The code outlines the procedures to be followed if a candidate dies, but the withdrawal of a candidate after deadline for health reasons is not addressed.
The withdrawal came too late to remove Tebay’s name from the ballot.
“The county commission acts as the board of canvass after the election so they have the say whether the votes cast for Bob would be counted or not. If Bob wins the primary, they could accept the votes and declare a vacancy since he has withdrawn. If that happens, the Republican Executive Committee would then appoint a nominee to run in the general election,” Rhodes said.
If the county commission as the board of canvass does not count the votes for Tebay if he wins the primary, the second highest vote-getter will be nominated.
“That is my understanding of the procedure at this point,” Rhodes said Wednesday.
The other concern is how to inform voters of Tebay’s withdrawal.
“Jason has reviewed the case law and we met with the other three Republican candidates as well. We will propose to the commission they allow notification to be placed on the sample ballot at each precinct. It would be some kind of notification that Bob has withdrawn as a candidate. We are prohibited from electioneering at the polling places, but the secretary of state’s legal counsel has agreed this would be a good idea and the other candidates agreed to this procedure,” Rhodes said.
Pollworkers are not permitted to say anything, but if voters ask a question, they can respond.
Rhodes said he plans to contact the ballot commissioners to make them aware of the situation.
“This is a first; this has not been addressed before, and it is not addressed in the code,” Rhodes said.
In his statement Monday, Tebay said he was withdrawing because of a “recent illness.”
Other Republican candidates for the District C county commission seat are Roger Brown, Raymond Jones and Sam Baker. Commissioner Wayne Dunn is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.