WV delegate changes parties over feud with state GOP chair

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — West Virginia Del. S. Marshall Wilson changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent on Tuesday, citing a prolonged dispute with the state GOP chairwoman.

Wilson said West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter has overstepped her authority by interfering in county executive committees and refusing to consult with other GOP members.

“She has demonstrated time and time again that she’s not willing to take any input from the field and she has basically built for herself a little kingdom,” he said.

The delegate has previously called for Potter to resign in an open letter that cited, among many other things, the chairwoman’s controversial removal of an elected county committee leader.

“This is not an appropriate way to run an organization, and it is certainly not an effective way to run a representative organization,” said Wilson, who represents Berkeley County.

Potter released a statement criticizing Wilson shortly after he made his announcement.

“Delegate Wilson’s actions today are the latest in a long string of erratic and foolish behavior that he’s exhibited over the years,” she wrote. “His actions bring dishonor and discredit to his service in the House and betray the voters who thought they were electing a Republican when they voted for him.”

Republican House Speaker Roger Hanshaw said he is saddened by Wilson’s move but looks forward to continuing to work with him.

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