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West Virginia's Republican House speaker resigned Tuesday to run for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, fueling accusations by Democrats that an unprecedented move to impeach state Supreme Court justices represents a power grab by GOP lawmakers.

Speaker Tim Armstead disclosed his plans on Twitter. Though the secretary of state's office has said he's not required to resign, Armstead said he was doing so to make sure his candidacy is above question.

House lawmakers recently impeached four of the court's five justices, prompting one to resign. All four were ordered Tuesday to appear in the Senate on Sept. 11 to answer accusations against them. The impeachment probe was sparked by questions involving more than $3 million in renovations to the justices' offices and expanded to broader accusations of corruption, incompetence and neglect of duty.

Armstead had recused himself from the House debate over impeachment because he had previously expressed interest in serving on the court. More recently, he and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, a Republican who is not seeking re-election and lost in his bid for the U.S. Senate this spring, both applied to be considered for temporary appointments to the Supreme Court by Gov. Jim Justice. Those appointments would last until the November election is certified.

Jenkins has declared himself a candidate for a different seat on the court in the November election, which is officially nonpartisan.

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