A Jackson Circuit Court judge has thrown her hat into the 2020 West Virginia Supreme Court race.
Judge Lora Dyer on Wednesday announced her intention to seek candidacy to complete the vacated term of former justice Allen Loughry.
Dyer said she was uniquely qualified for the position, and she was ready to fill the void in the court and continue what she said was good work by Chief Justice Beth Walker to make the court more open and accountable.
“West Virginians really deserve somebody who will fill the void Loughry left on the court that’s experienced, that’s uniquely qualified and would be a fair justice in that role,” Dyer said Wednesday.
Dyer was elected as a circuit judge in West Virginia’s 5th Judicial Circuit in 2016. The circuit includes Mason, Jackson, Roane and Calhoun counties.
Dyer said she particularly was motivated to seek election to the state court to better help the judicial branch address child abuse and neglect cases that have skyrocketed in step with the state’s substance abuse epidemic.
“It’s going to take some fresh perspective,” Dyer said. “Dealing with these issues traditionally is not going to help move these cases along and help achieve permanency for these kids.”
Dyer previously worked for the late West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Joe Albright, and she worked as a law clerk for the late Kanawha Circuit Judge James Stucky.
She also worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Kanawha County before working as a defense attorney in private practice at the firm Hendrickson and Long PLLC, in Charleston.
After working in private practice for 10 years, Dyer worked as deputy general counsel and deputy commissioner of securities for the state Auditor’s Office, where she was promoted as General Counsel, according to a news release from her campaign.
Dyer earned her bachelor’s degree at Marshall University, and she studied environmental engineering in England before earning her law degree at the West Virginia University College of Law.
Dyer is one of seven people so far to announce their intention to file candidacy for election to the Supreme Court in 2020.
By announcing her intention, Dyer joins incumbent Justices Tim Armstead and John Hutchison, Kanawha Family Court Judge Jim Douglas, former justice Richard Neely, Charleston attorney William Schwartz and Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit in the 2020 race.
There are three seats up for election in 2020.
Two of the seats, those currently occupied by Armstead and Justice Margaret Workman, are regular elections for a full, 12-year term on the court.
The third election is a special election to complete the rest of what was Loughry’s term, which ends in 2024. Hutchison is serving on the Supreme Court by temporary appointment by Gov. Jim Justice, and he is eligible by state law to seek election to serve the rest of the term.
Pre-candidacy typically refers to the filing of financial disclosure documents with the Secretary of State’s Office, providing candidates for any state office the means to disclose their campaign financial information.
The filing period to establish candidacy for state office will open in January 2020.