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 Pre-Candidacy

Pre Candidacy for Future Elections

  • Filing a precandidacy form allows prospective candidates to "test the waters" to see if seeking office is the right decision.  Once a precandidacy form is filed a candidate may lawfully begin to accept contributions and make expenditures for the election.  Federal candidates do not have to file precandidacy but must comply with Federal Election Commission rules.  Some Federal candidates also file a precandidacy form in the Secretary of State's office, but it is not required.
  • A list of precandidates - including names, addresses and offices for those who have filed - is available.  Once you get to the website, change the year to 2012 and the "candidates" to "precandidates."


Earliest Filing 

  • A person can be a precandidate for an office only during the years preceding the next election of that office.  A person can be a precandidate for a maximum of four years depending on the office he or she seeks.
  • For those considering future elections, here are some examples of those earliest dates.  

A candidate for an office having a two-year term may file a precandidacy form up to two years before the beginning of the term. 

            House of Delegates For the 2012 election:  December 1, 2010 
For the 2014 election:  December 1, 2012  
            Municipal Office (2-yr) For the 2011 election:  July 1, 2009 

A candidate for an office having a four, six, eight or twelve-year term may file up to four years before the beginning of the term. 

            Constitutional Office For the 2012 election:  January 15, 2009
For the 2016 election:  January 22, 2013  
            Supreme Court For the 2012 election:  January 1, 2009 
For the 2016 election:  January 1, 2013 
For the 2020 election:  January 1, 2017 
For the 2024 election:  January 1, 2021  
            Circuit Judge  For the 2014 election:  January 1, 2011 
            Family Court Judge  For the 2014 election:  January 1, 2011 
            State Senate  For the 2012 election:  December 1, 2009 
For the 2014 election:  December 1, 2011  
For the 2016 election:  December 1, 2012  


Where to File 

  • A Pre-candidacy statement is a campaign finance filing, and is made with the same filing officer who will handle the committee designations and campaign finance reports. Filings go to the: 
    • Secretary of State - for all candidates for statewide office, all legislative offices, multi-county judicial circuits and other multi-county offices. 
    • County Clerk - for all candidates for single-county judicial circuits and all county offices.
    • Municipal Recorder or Clerk - for all candidates for municipal office. 


Tips for Filing 

Office 

  • As a precandidate, 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 precandidacy. See Campaign Finance: Getting Started for more information and forms to establish a committee.

Form 

  • Download and print the precandidacy form on your computer, then complete the required information and submit the form to the proper filing officer.  Click here to download the form.

Filing 

  • No fees are required for the precandidacy filing.  Find the address below, and be certain your filing is received by the filing officer before you accept any contribution to your campaign.
    • Secretary of State:  Building 1, Suite 157-K, 1900 Kanawha Blvd, E., Charleston, WV 25305 
    • County Clerk:  Get the address for your county from our Roster of County Clerks.
    • Municipal Recorder or Clerk:  Check our municipal rosters, or call your city hall to get the address.