WatchBlog: WVGOV Primary Final Thoughts
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By Steven Allen Adams
Happy Monday. I hope you all have recovered from the primary and election night Saturday. I chose to spend my Sunday shooting random firearms and relaxing in a hot tub. But today is a new day, with lawmakers meeting in Charleston for the Legislature’s interim meetings.
I’m covering these meetings as I write this, but in the interests of closure I have a few observations about Saturday’s election results:
1. Endorsement don’t matter, particularly union endorsements.
We, as media, will probably always report on endorsements, newspapers will continue to anoint candidates, and unions will continue to promise back to candidates, but this election shows for sure that endorsements don’t matter. We live in an era of information and transparency. An individual can make up their own damned minds on who to vote for and only need the candidates to communicate to them. The days of companies telling their workers who to vote fore, and likewise the era of unions telling their members who to vote for, is over. Thank God, let freedom ring!
2. Going negative against Tomblin will backfire.
The Republicans haven’t held the governor’s mansion since the late Cecil Underwood held that office. That was 1997 to 2001 and Underwood won because his Democratic opponent was far too liberal, with Democrats forming a pro-Underwood PAC and voting for him over Charlotte Pritt. The Republicans won’t luck out like that this time. Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, the acting governor, is undeniably a conservative Democrat. Yet, already the Republican Party is trying to tie Tomblin to President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That attack is stupid and will only turn off voters. Going negative on former Secretary of State Betty Ireland might have worked for Bill Maloney during the Republican primary, but it will not work against Tomblin during the general.
Yes, I know Tomblin’s connections to the gambling industry; I’ve written about those ties. But these ties aren’t secret and they’re not all that damning. Tomblin’s opponents in the primary – specifically State Treasurer John Perdue, House Speaker Rick Thompson, and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant – all hit him in campaign commercials and literature for his gambling industry ties. It didn’t seem to hurt his vote totals. Plus Tomblin’s worse crime seems to be taking donations from the gambling industry. If that is the only think Maloney has to smack Tomblin with, it just won’t work.
3. Will Ireland’s supporters back Maloney?
I have no idea. From some of the chatter after Ireland gave her concession speech after losing to Maloney, it seems that her hard-core supporters are very anti-Maloney. I can’t blame them considering that campaign went really negative. While I do consider Ireland a big government Republican, calling her a liberal is a stretch. But Maloney was recruited all along to oppose Ireland. No organization holds grudges like the state Republican Party does, and somewhere along the way Ireland ticked off party insiders. On the other foot, Ireland supporters could either not vote or vote for Tomblin. Considering there were 650,582 eligible Democrat voters and about 350,618 eligible Republican voters as of April 28, Maloney is going to not only need his party coming out for him, but he’s going to have to give Democrats a reason to vote for him as well.
4. Tomblin has a record as acting governor.
No matter what Maloney does, Tomblin has the best advantage of all – he has been acting as governor since November 2010. By the time the Oct. 4 special election rolls around Tomblin will have served almost 11 months as acting governor. He has one legislative session under his belt with probably two more between now and Oct. 4. He has passed a balanced budget and has seen legislation his office helped craft pass the Legislature. Democratic voters ultimately chose Tomblin over his five competitors because they’ve seen his leadership style and like it. Maloney has none of this. I fully expect them to attack Tomblin as a career politician. Some probably look at Maloney’s lack of political career as good, and it can be good, but the one concern I have with him is he’s not as steeped in policy as many of the other candidates were. If he wants the job of governor, he had better come up with an 11-point plan of his own.
OK, that’s enough observations for now. It’s going to be interesting to see what the tension is like at the Capitol today with two of the vanquished Democrat candidates for governor, Thompson and Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, in the building. Both blamed each other during the campaign for the failure of OPEB and Marcellus Shale legislation.
- Maloney to Face Tomblin for West Virginia Governor (politicalwire.com)
Posted under Blog, Elections, Governor, Politics, West Virginia.
Tags: Betty Ireland, Bill Maloney, Cecil H. Underwood, Charlotte Pritt, Democratic, Earl Ray Tomblin, election, Governor, Nancy Pelosi, Natalie Tennant, primary, Republican, Rick Thompson, special, West Virginia
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