The State Election Commission won't allow a replacement for a Republican delegate who withdrew from the November election.
With GOP Delegate Suzette Raines off the ballot, Wednesday's decision gives Democrats an edge in the 35th House district. Four Democrats and three Republicans will vie for the four Kanawha County seats. Write-in candidates are possible.
In Monday's withdrawal, Raines said she needed time to heal after her mother's death in March and the end of her engagement.
Commissioners didn't think her extenuating circumstances sufficed under election law.
State GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas called the decision sad for the democratic process. He said the party is exploring legal options.
State Democrats had filed a complaint alleging Raines doesn't live where she claims. It said she didn't file or sign certain paperwork.