In February, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice appointed Steven Redding to the Circuit Court in the eastern panhandle to fill the seat of retiring Judge Gray Silver.
Redding has been a judge only a few short weeks, but already he’s defending his seat.
In the May 8 non-partisan election, Redding will face off against David Camilletti and Kimberly Crockett. (See our interviews with Camilletti and Crockett.)
This is Redding’s second run for Circuit Court Judge.
In 2016, Redding lost (9,154 votes) to Bridget Cohee (11,421). Steven Kershner (10,271) came in second in that race.
Redding has put up campaign signs around the district with the message “Let’s Keep Judge Steven Redding,” even though he has been judge for about two months.
“‘Let’s keep’ is factually accurate,” Redding told This Week in Morgan County with Russell Mokhiber. “I have shown in the month and a week that I’ve been on the job that I’m up for the job. My third day on the job, I had a criminal jury trial that I presided over. Everything went very smoothly. I presided over the April term of the grand jury and that went very smoothly. I’ve had dozens of hearings and everything has gone well. I’ve had good feedback from lawyers – prosecutors, defense lawyers and civil attorneys.”
“The ‘let’s keep’ is accurate,” Redding said. “I’m on the bench and I want the community to keep me on the bench.”
“In terms of the Governor’s appointment, I had to step out in faith when I took that appointment. If things turn out poorly on May 8, I’m out of a job. I took that appointment understanding that that might be a two month position.”
“As judges and as judicial candidates, we have to maintain a fidelity to the rule of law. That’s what we do. We are referees. We take the facts of the case and we apply it to the law and we make a decision.”
Redding said that the law in West Virginia is clear.
“It says that within 90 days of the announcement of the retirement of a judge, the Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission shall make recommendations to the Governor. And then the Governor has 30 days in which he shall make an appointment. So I think it’s a bit disingenuous for any judicial candidate to say that the Governor should have turned his back on the clear language of the law and not made an appointment.”