W.Va. delegate says he does not plan to seek new term after inflammatory statements appear on Facebook

Meghann Showers

WALLBACK, W.Va. (WVVA) – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, on Saturday announced Delegate John Mandt, R-Cabell, intends to resign from the House of Delegates effective 11:59 p.m. tonight, and will also end his campaign for re-election to House for the upcoming term.   The decision came after anti-gay screenshots from Del. Mandt appeared on Facebook. […]

WALLBACK, W.Va. (WVVA) – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, on Saturday announced Delegate John Mandt, R-Cabell, intends to resign from the House of Delegates effective 11:59 p.m. tonight, and will also end his campaign for re-election to House for the upcoming term.  

The decision came after anti-gay screenshots from Del. Mandt appeared on Facebook.

Delegate Mandt contacted Speaker Hanshaw earlier Saturday to discuss the events of the past year and week, as well as his upcoming plans for his family and businesses, and concluded at this time the best course of action for his family and business was for him to step away from public office. 

“We thank Delegate Mandt for his service in the House of Delegates,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Delegate Mandt and I have spoken at length over the past several months. Earlier this year, Delegate Mandt lost his mother and is now spending significant time caring for his father, family and expanding business ventures. After our discussion, Delegate Mandt concluded that at this time it would be best to step away from public service and focus on the priority matters of his personal life.”  

Delegate Mandt said he would deliver copies of his letter of resignation to Speaker Hanshaw and Gov. Jim Justice over the weekend. It will be effective at the end of the day Saturday.  

“While I have enjoyed my time in public service and thank the people of the 16th District for the opportunity to represent them in the House,” Delegate Mandt said. “Right now, my focus and priority needs to be on my family and business, and feel it is best at this time to terminate my campaign and make room other individuals to serve the state.”  

Later on Saturday, House Speaker Hanshaw issued the following statement in response to reports of group text messages that appear to be tied to Delegate John Mandt, R-Cabell. 

“I have seen some of the statements that have been posted to social media and have spoken with Delegate Mandt about them,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “While Delegate Mandt denies having made them, I want to be very clear: I strongly condemn these comments and this type of rhetoric. I don’t care who said it – it’s wrong and I want everyone to know there is no place for hatred or bigotry in our state, our political discourse or the West Virginia House of Delegates.”  

Right now, it remains to be seen whether it is too late to replace the lawmaker on the November ballot. However, Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia, has the right to name a replacement until January 1, 2021.

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