West Virginia’s GOP endorses anti-abortion measure

Impeachment resolution tabled

PARKERSBURG — The West Virginia Republican Party has endorsed the anti-abortion Amendment 1 to be decided in the November general election, but tabled a resolution supporting the impeachment of state officials.

The state party executive committee Saturday met in Wheeling where it re-elected Melody Potter as chairman and elected Lewis Rexroad of Wood County as an at-large member of the West Virginia Republican state executive committee.

Amendment 1 would add language to the state Constitution to say nothing in the Constitution “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” The state Democratic Party last month voted to oppose the amendment.

The resolution was offered by Wood County Republican Party Chairman Rob Cornelius, who also proposed a revised resolution supporting the impeachment of any elected or appointed official “whose actions violate Article IV, Section IX of the West Virginia Constitution, seeking conviction by standard of clear and convincing evidence.”

The revision struck language that cited the governor and justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court, changes that were requested by party leadership to make it more general, Cornelius said. Despite the changes the vote to table was overwhelming in favor, he said.

The Judiciary Committee of the House of Delegates has been meeting on articles of impeachment against justices of the Supreme Court, particularly suspended Justice Allen Loughry, who has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including lying to investigators, mail and wire fraud and witness tampering. Loughry has pleaded innocent.

Legislators also have discussed impeaching Gov. Jim Justice for not residing in the state Capitol, as required in the state Constitution.

The impeachment resolution was tabled on the request from Justice, Cornelius said.

“I don’t know where Rob got his information,” Potter said.

Justice never made such a request, Potter said.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “If it was, I would say it.”

The resolution was tabled so it would not interfere with any work by the Legislature, Potter said.

“The timing wasn’t really good,” Potter said.

Potter succeeded Conrad Lucas, who resigned in January upon becoming a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 3rd District. She was in Austin, Texas, this week for a meeting of the Republican National Committee.

Rexroad, who was not at the meeting in Wheeling, was attending a Mannington High School reunion when he received word of his election as an at-large member of the state executive committee.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” he said.