Archive for the ‘2011 Special Election’ Category

Bill’s Blog

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

What Is Jonathan Miller Up To?

My first encounter with Jonathan Miller was a telephone conversation  several years ago.  A North Carolina political friend suggested he call to learn about West Virginia politics.  I found him to be politically astute with a good understanding about how political campaigns are conducted.

When I learned about his announcement yesterday that he plans to run for Congress against U. S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito my first reaction was your kidding.

After some thought I believe he is making a calculated move that the redistricting of congressional districts will take his home county out of the second congressional district.  

Miller is currently a Republican member of the House of Delegates from Berkeley County.

Democratic Governors Association

The Charleston Daily Mail reports today about negative campaigning.  The Democratic Governors Association is making telephone calls with negative messages about GOP candidates Betty Ireland and Bill Maloney. 

A spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association says they are testing messages “with the purpose of being prepared to hit the ground running on May 15.”

I don’t believe that for a minute.  They are trying to influence the Republican primary race for Governor. 

Manchin Joining Republicans

Senator Joe Manchin announced yesterday he is joining Republicans in the U. S. Senate to promote the development and use of alternative energy.

During his campaign for Senator Byrd’s seat last fall he took several Republican oriented positions.  As has been noted his first speech as a freshman Senator was to attack President Obama.  Recently he made clear he would not support raising the national debt without budget cuts.  With a little research there are other issues which would show a Republican inclination. 

While Governor he had policies any new resident of West Virginia who did not know Manchin was a Democrat would have thought he was a Republican.

Maybe after the 2012 election if he runs and is reelected the Republican leadership in the U. S. Senate should have a serious conversation with him.  It is even possible they could be joined by a Republican President.

Last Look at Governor’s Race

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Bill’s Blog 

The unexpected happened in yesterday’s Kentucky Derby.  A 20 to 1 long shot won.  The same could happen in next Saturday’s special election. 

The only recent poll not commissioned by one of the campaigns has Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin as the favorite in the Democrat race, and Former Secretary of State Betty Ireland the Republican favorite.

If you think about the field of 19 horses in the Derby and the 14 candidates in the Governor’s race there are a lot of similarities.  No one knew much about any of the horses and it appears none of the candidates have caught the attention of voters.

Even those most active in their political party have shown little interest. 

The candidate selection likely rests in the hands of those not voting.  However, a long shot could win if a campaign has identified their voters and has a Get-Out-To-Vote effort in place. 


Nastiness has finally found its way into the campaign.  A dust up started last week between the two likely leading GOP candidates.  A POLITICO blog reported GOP candidate Bill Maloney had contributed to various Democrats in the past.  Later on Friday the blog was updated that Betty Ireland had contributed to Democratic legislative candidates ten years ago. 

The campaign managers in both camps started a battle of words over this minor development.  If either of them followed West Virginia politics they would know this happens in a small state like ours all the time.  It’s no big deal; it will not cost either candidate the nomination.

The nastiness also reached into the Democratic primary.  John Perdue released a negative television commercial.  Perdue’s ad says the family of Earl Ray Tomblin who raises greyhounds has benefited because of Tomblin’s service in the State Senate.

It seems to me this TV spot will have little effect.  Basically it is a day late and a dollar short. 


The long awaited Odgen newspapers endorsement for the May 14th primary came on Saturday.  Candidates for public office covet this endorsement.  It is always thoughtful, puts the interest of the State ahead of politics and appears in at least five WV newspapers.

Since Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin became acting Governor the Odgen newspapers have written many favorable editorials regarding Governor Tomblin’s work as Governor.  As a result this weekend’s endorsement was a bit surprising.  While they endorsed acting Governor Tomblin they appeared to give acting Senate President Jeff Kessler a nod.

When it came to the Republican candidates they offered strong support to Betty Ireland’s candidacy.  My take is a candidate who offers specifics of what they will do when elected pays off.  That is exactly what Ireland’s “11-Point Plan to Get West Virginians Working Again does.

Ireland’s hometown newspaper The Charleston Daily Mail did not treat her as well.  They placed their bet on Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney.  


The last ten days has found Bill Maloney making a strong push.  The direct mail, radio & television ads may be just a little late to put him across the finish line next Saturday.  But as a political strategy it could be laying the ground work to enter the race in 2012.  Remember it is only three months after the October election when candidates begin to file for the 2012 election.

Based on past performance if Betty Ireland fails to cross the finish line first she is likely to be found at the gate again. 


If I were at track looking at the field of long shot Democrats I would see them crossing the finish line in this order:   John Perdue, Natalie Tennant, Rick Thompson, Jeff Kessler and Arne Moltis. 

There is still a race between Ireland and Maloney.  My order of Republican long shots would be Clark Barnes, Mark Sorsaia, Mitch Carmichael, Larry Faircloth, Ralph William Clark and Cliff Ellis.

Out of State…That’s Where The Money Went

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

I gave a quick review of the financial reports filed by gubernatorial candidates posted here earlier in the week.  It appeared most of the spending was going out-of-state.  This took me back to the governor’s race in 1996.

I was a part of Governor Cecil Underwood’s successful campaign that year.  We made it a point to spend all our money in West Virginia.  A team of knowledgeable and talented West Virginians was formed to help guide the fall campaign.  

What mattered to this team was putting West Virginia first and that included where we spent campaign money.  That does not appear to be the case in the special primary election underway to find the next Governor.  A look at a few of the candidates’ reports reveals the money flowed in large amounts out of West Virginia.

John Perdue led spending over $360,000 out-of-state approximately 96% and $15,000 here.  Earl Ray Tomblin spent over $1 million (90%) of his money elsewhere.  Rick Thompson paid $390,000 (80%) for services outside of West Virginia.  Jeff Kessler was found spending about $1,500 or 8%.

Bill Maloney purchased over $300,000 of services outside the state nearly 83% of his expenditures.  Betty Ireland spent approximately $54,000 out-of-state which was 47% of her expenses.  Clark Barnes used $2,990 (8%) of his money elsewhere.

While focused on out-of-state spending I looked at contributions coming to some candidates from outside West Virginia.

Earl Ray Tomblin collected $210,971.29 with 35% ($73,481.75) from non West Virginians.  Rick Thompson got 1% of his money ($3,000) from outside sources.  He raised $18,323.33.  John Perdue raised $123,840.00 with non residents contributing $14,500 (12%).  Jeff Kessler received $1,500 (1%) from other states raising $12,345.00.

Clark Barnes raised 100% of his funds from outside but it only amounted to $1,000.  Bill Maloney got 32% ($19,500) of his $61,109 from out-of-state.  Betty Ireland brought in $7,500 (21%) of her $36,325 from sources beyond our borders.

Please note:  Not all candidates’ reports were reviewed but this is the tread.  The numbers here are approximate.  Further, it is likely some of the out-of-state funds were eventually spent on advertising here in the state. 

Who Gets The Money?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Our first posting of the pre-primary reports regarding the “mother’s milk of politics” received a positive response.  Our readers were pleased to have all this in one place.  You can see who really cares about the candidate or wants to influence them once in office.

This report is eye opening to see how much money is going out-of-state vs. being spent in West Virginia.


Jeffrey V. Kessler

Arne Moltis

John D. Perdue

Natalie F. Tennant

Rick Thompson

Earl Ray Tomblin


Clark Barnes

Mitch B. Carmichael

Ralph William Clark

Cliff Ellis

Larry V. Faircloth

Betty Ireland

Bill Maloney

Mark A. Sorsaia 

Political Tidbits…4.27.11

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

WEST VIRGINIA calling…Donald Trump…last week he told ABC news reporter George Stephanopoulos…he offered to build an enormous ballroom at the WHITE HOUSE…to replace the TENT used for state dinners…it is reported he told former WH advisor David Axelrod…”you put up an old broken canvas tent”…probably rented from some overcharging local company…sound familiar…Senator Manchin CALL THE DONALD…your tent is gone.

The political community in WV got a shot yesterday…when it was confirmed by Public Policy Pollingthe special Governor’s race is still undecided…14% of Democrats far in that category…28% of Republicans are not sure who gets their vote…when the margin of error is factored in…WELL.

[acting] Governor Tomblin seems the most assured…by the numbers…hard to believe Tennant’s numbers have fallen…or that Thompson’s TV guitar playing has caused his increase…Perdue’s ground game has called attention to his efforts…numbers up.

REPUBLICANS…really undecided…expect that contest to heat up…Maloney has turned on his GOTV machine…touching voters directly…phones…direct mail…and even a telecommunications TOWN HALL meeting…voters were contacted by phone…and given an opportunity to ask questions directly of Bill Maloney…good move.

Gov. Underwood always said… timing was everything in a campaign…Betty Ireland released a TV commercial immediately after the PPP results…which showed her leading…Maloney campaign says she is losing votes…from the earlier PPP survey…she should have …as it was done before Maloney & others entered the race…BUT THE RACE IS UNDECIDED…and it seems these two are on the verge of a real FIGHT.

Quietly…Sen. Clark Barnes works his plan…known as a constant campaigner…strategic and under the radar…in an area where he should not be known…endorsed by the Huntington newspaper.

ENDORSEMENTS matter…just ask Governor Tomblin…both Charleston newspapers offered up their support this morning…picture and all in the Gazette…most interesting the final sentence of the Gazette endorsement…sounds like it includes the October 4 general election…REPUBLICANS take note.

All things political in WV is not the Governor’s race…State GOP Chair Stuart has a 2012 concept before his party…to determine if Republicans will hold another convention like 2008…or return to electing delegates in a primary election…to the national party convention…his concept even includes the option of a straw poll…look out IOWA.

TOMBLIN’s hidden campaign weapon…now not so secret is his wife Joanne…during an Elkins visit…she was a huge hit…even sat through a three hour evening of Chamber awards…former Gov. & Gayle Manchin…will remember an even longer ceremony.

Is vote-by-mail in our future…Morgantown finish their experiment yesterday…with 3,648 voting…compared to 1,600 in 2009…128 percent increase…they call it turnout…I call it VOTING.

First District Congressman David McKinley…off to a good start…during the first three months of 2011…he raised $536,654…but that is not all…he is carefully considering his vote on issues…not just following the crowd…his constituents should be proud of him…and that HE LISTENS.

MAY ELECTION getting underway FRIDAY…with early voting…there is likely to be more POLITICAL TIDBITS…the next 17 days.

Latest Public Poll on Governor’s Race

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

A North Carolina firm, Public Policy Polling, has been providing an independent look at the May 14th special election for the gubernatorial nomination.  Just released moments ago is a poll conducted last Thursday thru Sunday.

The results show Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in a comfortable position in the Democrat primary but 14% voters surveyed are undecided  In the Republican contest former Secretary of State Betty Ireland leading but 28% undecided.

The “Anything Can Happen” primary is still not over with turnout becoming more important as early voting starts April 29th.

You can review the polls and the Public Policy Polling analysis by clicking here.

Media Stepping Up to the Plate

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Our State’s media are working hard to inform and interest voters in the May 14th special primary when both parties will nominate their candidates for Governor.  Everywhere interviews are being conducted and coverage given to the candidates, their vision for the future and how government should be run.

It is so important residents are informed, interested and vote.   It was only last August in another special primary for the U. S. Senate seat that less than 25 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

The media deserves praise for this effort.

Sharing Insight

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Obama Is Likely to Lose

Peggy Noonan lays out how Obama is likely to lose in 2012 in her Wall Street Journal DECLARATION column.  She then warns Republicans about what could happen if the GOP does not get serious.   Read the full opinion here.

West Virginia Governor’s Race

Dems differ on Tobacco Taxes, abortion

Sunday Gazette-Mail offers a summary of what to expect from the Democrats seeking the nomination in the May 14 special primary election.  We are going to share for our readers who have not seen.  Read the full story here.

 2011 Voters Guide to the Governor’s Race

Accompanying the summary story was the complete answers offer by the Democratic candidates for Governor.  The Republican responses will be published next week.  Read the full guide here.

 Check often for political and public policy insight and prospective.  With the WV election just a few weeks away forward to your friends and email list.

Outsiders Take A Look At Governor’s Race

Friday, April 15th, 2011

West Virginia has the only Governor’s race in the country this year.  As a result it is attracting national attention.  The Fix read regularly by political insiders wrote about our May 14th election.  Read here to see how it looks from the outside.

Money Suppliers

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

It has been said money is the “mother’s milk of politics.” 

The candidates in the special primary election have filed their first reports with the Secretary of State.  Though the campaign has been quiet to now you can learn a lot by reviewing these reports.

Below are links to assist you in seeing who supplies the money for the Democrat and Republican candidates and where they are spending it.

Enjoy and look for a strategy in the reports – remember the old saying “follow the money.”


Jeffrey V. Kessler

Arne  Moltis

John D. Perdue

Natalie E. Tennant

Rick Thompson

Earl Ray Tomblin


Clark Barnes

Mitch B. Carmichael

Ralph William Clark

Cliff Ellis

Larry V. Faircloth

Betty Ireland

Bill Maloney

Mark A. Sorsaia