Write-in candidates emerge in wake of Wallace announcement

MORGANTOWN — On the heels of Friday’s announcement that 3rd Ward Councilor Ryan Wallace will not serve another term on Morgantown City Council, two write-in candidates filed paperwork with the city on Monday.

Financial industry retiree Richard Dumas and Zack Cruze, an archeologist, are the first to ask city voters to write their names in as the 3rd Ward representative.

Wallace, who is moving to Toronto with his family after the current council term ends on June 30, is unopposed on the ballot. Though he does not intend to serve another term, he cannot officially remove his name this close to the April 30 election according to the West Virginia Secretary of State.

He told The Dominion Post on Monday that he intends to endorse Dumas.

“That is very encouraging for me because it makes me feel that he has confidence that my positions and standpoints on the issues facing the city are consistent with his and that he has confidence that I can continue to move those items forward,” Dumas said. “It’s very encouraging for me to have Ryan backing me.”

Dumas is the president of the Wiles Hill Neighborhood Association and volunteers with organizations including Morgantown Community Kitchen and Rock Forge Neighborhood House.

“I just believe that I can help the city move in a direction that’s fiscally and socially responsible, and ensure that we’re moving in a direction that protects our neighborhoods,” Dumas said, later adding “I’m really excited to be doing this. It’s not a direction that I thought my life would take when I retired, but it’s a challenge that I’m willing to take on and I’m looking forward to it.”

Cruze’s announcement came with its own endorsement of sorts. Included with his press release were photos of him registering as a write-in candidate with a friend in tow — Delegate Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia.

Cruze, who works with organizations like United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties and Pantry Plus More, said democracy only works when people get involved.

“I’ve interviewed a couple times with city council for various boards and commissions and one thing I always tell them is I believe democracy is a participant activity, not a spectator activity,” Cruze said. “I think to be a good citizen you need to participate in things like city council and volunteer organizations, and actually get out there on the ground participating instead of sitting back and watching.”

Cruze said he has a great deal of respect for the councilor he’s looking to replace and a love for the city he hopes to represent.

“I love the City of Morgantown. It’s the people and their proud history and their ties to the land that actually brought me here, so anything I can do to further that, I’m going to jump in and help,” Cruze said. “So when I saw there was a position and an opportunity open in the 3rd Ward, I really wasn’t hesitant.”

City council write-in candidates have until April 16 to file with the city clerk’s office.

Early voting will be held from April 17-27. Election Day is April 30.

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