This is a developing story and may be updated.
In a Tuesday posting on her website, Sen. Patricia Puertas Rucker, R-Jefferson, announced she is withdrawing as a candidate for President of the West Virginia State Senate. She made the challenge to current Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, for the position back on Aug. 31. She said in the posted letter that she does not have the votes to win.
“I believed that by running for Senate President, I could provide an alternative that could act as a catalyst to provide the unity needed to get things done. I still do,” Rucker said in the letter. “At the time of my announcement to run, I believed that I had the votes needed to win. Today, November 22nd, I no longer believe that to be true.”
After her initial announcement, Blair removed Rucker as the chair of the Senate Education Committee but then gave her leadership of a newly-established committee — the Select Senate Committee on Alternative Education, focusing on school choice.
Rucker said in her letter that she withdraws from the Senate presidency race with strongly conflicted feelings.
“I gave these reasons for running for that position: I believe that the people of our state expect more from a super majority Republican led legislature and so do I,” Rucker said in her letter. “We are now at an inflection point where the momentum is stalling. We are squandering our opportunities. In the recent special session we literally got nothing done. No tax relief. No right to life legislation. No nothing.”
Following Rucker’s initial challenge, right to life legislation was passed by the legislature and tax relief goes back to square one with the defeat of Amendment 2, and Gov. Jim Justice’s continued push to cut personal income taxes.
Rucker said on Tuesday that she will never stop fighting for the people of the 16th Senatorial District.
“I will never stop fighting for what I believe is right, and what will make West Virginia a better place for all of its citizens,” Rucker said. “Those guiding principles will never change, regardless of who Senate leadership may be. Let’s keep a close eye on how things proceed from here and pray for God’s will that we resolve our current issues and do what is best for the people of West Virginia.”