Filing a pre-candidacy form (PDF) allows prospective candidates to "test the waters" to see if seeking office is the right decision. Once a pre-candidacy form is filed, a candidate may lawfully begin to accept contributions and make expenditures for the election. Federal candidates do not have to file pre-candidacy but must comply with Federal Election Commission rules. Some Federal candidates also file a pre-candidacy form in the Secretary of State's office, but it is not required.
View a List of Pre-candidates
When can I File for Pre-Candidacy?
You may file for pre-candidacy no more than four years before the term of a position is up for election. If the term of the position you are seeking is less than four years, then you may file for pre-candidacy the term before the next election.
Where to File Pre-Candidacy
Secretary of State: candidates for Federal offices, State Senate and House of Delegates, all judicial offices except magistrate, and those running for an office in more than one county.
County Clerk: candidates for an office which is entirely within one county
Municipal Recorder: candidates for a municipal office
Tips for Filing Pre-candidacy
Choosing an Office
As a pre-candidate, you are not required to name the office you plan to run for. If you are considering two offices at different filing levels, such as County Commission and State Senate, you should file with the Secretary of State. If the decision is made to file for county office, the other filings will be transferred to the County Clerk.
Committee Treasurer or Financial Agent
Make decisions early about how campaign finances will be handled. If you plan to have a campaign committee, you will save a lot of headaches by organizing the committee at the same time you file pre-candidacy. View our Campaign Finance Page to learn more.
Downloading and Completing the Form
Download and print the pre-candidacy form (PDF) on your computer, then complete the required information and submit the form to the proper filing officer. You may also contact us at 304-558-6000 to request a form.
All forms are provided on-line in portable document format (PDF). You must have Adobe Reader to download PDF files. Instructions for Downloading Adobe Reader.
Filing the Form
No fees are required for the pre-candidacy filing. Find the appropriate address below, and be certain your filing is received by the filing officer before you accept any contribution to your campaign.
WV Secretary of State's Office
Building 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Blvd, E.
Charleston, WV 25305
County Clerk Contact Information
Municipal Recorder or Clerk Contact Information