Archive for April, 2012

Insiders vs. Outsiders

Monday, April 30th, 2012

What a mess it has become to replace Gus Douglass as Commissioner of Agriculture.  Maybe that is why Doulgass stayed all those years. 

The Charleston Daily Mail has reported two Ag department officials Steve Miller and Bob Tabb should have left the state payroll when they became a candidate.  They are likely in violation of the federal Hatch Act.  That act does not allow running for partisan office if employment includes a connection with programs financed by federal money.  No one even checked.

This is on top of the fact when Miller and Tabb decided to run for Ag Commissioner last week The Charleston Daily Mail had a story that the department’s lawyer agreed to change the department’s employee handbook so they could be on the payroll and still run for political office.  Does this whole thing sound like an inside job?

An insider at the Capitol for over twenty years Sen. Walt Helmick decided to run for the Doulgass position.  Helmick has never been known as a farmer but as a legislator with a background in economic development.  A Kanawha County based court set aside a 1911 law to make him a farmer.

Republican farmer Mike Teets an outsider who filed for Commissioner in January set aside his nearly assured victory and left the race.  He added to the messy replacement of Douglass when he later endorsed insider Helmick.

Maybe the outsiders are where the voters should turn to replace Douglass.  Sally Shepherd [Democrat] has somewhat of an agriculture background or Kent Leonhardt [Republican] a true farmer in Monongahela County.

A house cleaning at the WV Department of Agriculture after 50 years of the same leadership may be the order of the day.

Joe and the Challenge of 2012

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Sen. Joe Manchin is defending his loyalty as a Democrat in an op ed appearing in the Sunday Gazette-Mail.  It all started when he told the National Journal he was uncertain who he would vote for as President in November.    

There is no doubt Sen. Manchin is a Democrat.  It appears as he discusses his votes in the United State Senate and taking on the President he is doing what many West Virginia Democrats started doing in 1996.  That was voting for what is best for West Virginia not just their party. 

I have always believed when Democrats voted for Governor Cecil Underwood that year they started putting the State ahead of party.  I thought it was confirmed when George W. Bush became the first non-incumbent Republican in 70 years to win WV.  It took a lot of registered Democrats to accomplish that feat and again in 2004 & 2008.

However, after the Manchin news broke a prominent lifelong Democrat contacted me saying “Joe’s distancing himself from his President reinforced his reputation as a DINO (Democrat In Name Only) and wimp.”  Further, the negative reaction was much stronger than he would have thought possible and it was coming from liberals, moderates and others.

That assessment was confirmed as Manchin felt compelled to host a call of Democrat County Chairs and State Committee members.  Reports are that Party Executive Director Derek Scarbro compared it to a big family airing their differences.

Despite the belief no one believes Obama is going to win West Virginia, Republicans take it at their own peril to believe so.  The fact the ever popular Manchin had to convene his party’s leaders in an attempt to calm them is a signal they are prepared to battle for Obama’s success and that of their other candidates in November.

Who Has The Money?

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Political races are often determined by who has the money – but not always.

The most watched statewide primary campaign is who Democrats will nominate as their candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture.  At least is receiving more than normal attention in the Charleston newspapers.

So let’s take a look at the last pre-primary financial reports that were due in the Secretary of State’s office yesterday.  We will then provide the reports filed by the most likely winners of the gubernatorial campaigns.

Commissioner of Agriculture

Walt Helmick

Joe Messineo

Steve Miller

Sally Shepherd

Bob Tabb


Bill Maloney

Earl Ray Tomblin

If you want to see every pre-primary financial report filed across the state click here.


Have We Met?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The bruising GOP presidential primary has come to an end.  The real Mitt Romney is reflected in his “A Better America Begins Tonight” speech last evening.  Below are a few excerpts from POLITICO.  The full text is included.

 –FROM ROMNEY’S SPEECH last night in Manchester, “A Better America Begins Tonight”: “Tonight is the start of a new campaign to unite every American who knows in their heart that we can do better! The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do, but it’s not the best America can do! … This has already been a long campaign, but many Americans are just now beginning to focus on the choice before the country. In the days ahead, I look forward to spending time with many of you personally. I want to hear what’s on your mind, hear about your concerns, and learn about your families. I want to know what you think we can do to make this country better…and what you expect from your next President.

“And I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’ll probably start out talking about my wonderful wife Ann – I usually do – and I’ll probably bore you with stories about our kids and grandkids. I’ll tell you about how much I love this country, where someone like my dad, who grew up poor and never graduated from college, could pursue his dreams and work his way up to running a great car company. Only in America could a man like my dad become governor of the state in which he once sold paint from the trunk of his car.

“I’d say that you might have heard that I was successful in business. And that rumor is true. But you might not have heard that I became successful by helping start a business that grew from 10 people to hundreds of people. You might not have heard that our business helped start other businesses, like Staples and Sports Authority and a new steel mill and a learning center called Bright Horizons. And I’d tell you that not every business made it and there were good days and bad days, but every day was a lesson. And after 25 years, I know how to lead us out of this stagnant Obama economy and into a job-creating recovery!

“Four years ago, Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change. But after we came down to earth, after the celebration and parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama? Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump? … There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter … Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.” Full text

(Editor’s Note:  In the interest of full disclosure I am involved with Gov. Romney’s WV efforts.)


Morning Reading

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012


Ann Romney detailed her own health struggles and opens a window onto her life as a mom…there more to this than politics or a campaign speech.  Read the full story here.

A Smart Strategy for Romney

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard offers a smart strategy making Mitt Romney President Romney. Read the strategy here. 

Republican Disenfranchisement Ends

Many Republicans felt disenfranchised by their party in 2008.  Delegates to the Republican National Convention were selected at a state convention.  Less than six-tenths of 1 percent of registered Republicans took part in the delegate selection process.  Not this time.

State Executive Committee members who govern the Republican Party listen to the complaints from 2008 and fixed the problem.  Their action will assure national convention delegates are selected by the voters during the May 8th primary as has been done historically.  Read more below.

Republican Disenfranchisement Ends

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

 Many Republicans felt disenfranchised by their party in 2008.  Delegates to the Republican National Convention were selected at a state convention.  Less than six-tenths of 1 percent of registered Republicans took part in the delegate selection process.  Not this time.

State Executive Committee members who govern the Republican Party listen to the complaints from 2008 and fixed the problem.  Their action will assure national convention delegates are selected by the voters during the May 8th primary as has been done historically.

There will be those who feel when they vote for the presidential candidate that takes care of their responsibility.  It does not.  When voting they will need to look down the long ballot for the candidates to the National Convention.  Voters will select 19 statewide at-large delegates and three more delegates in their congressional district.

Taking time to vote for the National Convention delegates will send a message to never return to a state convention for this process.

State Party committee members were responsive to the call of registered GOP voters.  Now it is up to registered Republicans and like minded Independents to participate.

Manchin on the Fence About Obama Vote

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Manchin on the Fence about Obama Vote

By Dan Friedman (National Journal)

Sen.  Joe Manchin (D-W.Va, who has done more than any other Democrat up for re-election this year to distance himself from President Obama, said he does not know if he will vote for Obama or presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in November.  Read the full story here.

Political News…4.20.12

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Gus Douglass Is Running

Ag Commissioner Gus Douglass is back in the race for this old job…when Walt Helmick called for an investigation of the Board of Risk Insurance [BRIM] over a sexual harassment suit [2008] related to Douglass and settled by BRIM…he may have gotten himself another opponent…in his quest to become Commissioner of Agriculture…Douglass is fighting back saying Helmick is ‘not qualified’…he should know having served in that office for nearly 50 yearsread the details in The Charleston Daily Mail…the most qualified candidate was Mike Teets [who nearly defeated Douglass] in 08…but Teets left the race in February…to the disbelief of his supporters and “friends”…who still wonder why.

CBO estimates Obama 2013 budget will hit economic growth

By Erik Wasson (The Hill)

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Friday that President Obama’s 2013 budget will hurt the economy in the long term, arguing the larger deficits it would produce would reduce the amount of capital available to businesses.

After five years, the CBO says the Obama proposals would reduce economic output by between o.5 percent and 2.2percent.  Read the full story here.

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Political Tidbits…4.18.12

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

4 YEARS LATER and after $1 million of taxpayers’ money spent…and now Sen. Walt Helmick needs free media…has called for an investigation into the way the Board of Risk Insurance Management (BRIM) reaches settlements…where was Helmick when “his friend” Mike Teets raised the question [in his 2008 race for Ag Commissioner]…when Helmick was the keeper of the budget…political observers will recall a $75,000 settlement made by the Board to “hush up” a sexual harassment claim involving Douglass…some friend…when Helmick had the power as Senate Finance Chair…he could have had an investigation of the BRIM happen…to help “his friend” Mike Teets…today his Senate power is gone…but now he gets front page Charleston Daily Mail coverage for his race to success Douglass.

The most sought after office in WV appears to be State Chairman of the GOP…candidates are operating like a campaign for GovernorJoe Garcia is making lengthy calls to the 130 plus members of the State Executive Committee…Bob Adams says he has the endorsement of senate candidate John Raese…others say not…but Adams is traveling around WV to meet with committee members…Tom O’Neill a long time GOP committee member is keeping his own counsel…smartly…rumor of the day Dan Greer who ran for Attorney General in 08 is taking a look…Melody Potter remains on the side lines…but is in touch with everyone…Conrad Lucas…a promising & smart leader has taken a second look…and is after the prize…don’t under estimate the connections of Lucas…and his supporters…Mark Sorsaia left the race to carry out his Putnam duties County as a public official.

Welcome to WV Seth Wimer…who will lead the Maloney for Governor effort…he comes from Delaware where he served as Executive Director of the State Republican Party…he called today…nice conversation.

Stepping up to take on Ag Commissioner candidate Helmick has been the WV YR’s…not sure why they have involved themselves in a Democrat primary.

A Washington friend sent me a newsletter with a great opening…just had to pass it along…”In order to have a nice train wreck, you need two trains running at each other on the same track.  If you have only one train, it is just not the same.  The House Republicans (Congress) passed a bold, partisan fiscal year 2013 budget on March 29 that presents major reductions in taxes, changes to Medicare, and significant spending cuts.  The Senate Democrats did not fire up their budget engine and, once again, are not bothering to pass a budget resolution.”

Conrad Lucas announced WV YR’s will launch a website featuring candidates between the ages of 18-40 from across WV…this will come right after the primary…great idea as I have meet a number of impressive young candidates…more on that later.

Oh, for Some Kennedyesque Grace…a column by Peggy Noonan…which I have saved to share…read it all…just click here.

Just learned Chad Holland has informed State GOP Committee members Mik Carpenter has been named 2012 WV Victory Director…what happen to Maloney’s Patrick Esposito…and why is an appointment being made now…when a new State Chair is about to be elected.

Republican Bulletin

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

The Executive Director of the WV Republican Party [Chad Holland] sent an email last evening to some state Republicans  [County Chairs] regarding a post on  He clarified Chairman Stuart’s rumored plans to attend a national State Chairman’s meeting in Arizona.  The email is below.


I spoke with Mike about the trip to Arizona sometime ago, and he expressed then that he had not intention of going on that trip. I do not understand why some people feel the need to invent and share false information. I am not certain if Bill Phillips invented this information or if he was mislead by someone else; however, I do know that Mike told me, on the day he announced his intention to resign as Chairman, that he was not going to Arizona.

I just want to ensure that all of you know the facts.

Thank you very much, and I hope you all have a great Easter.

Chad J Holland ǀ West Virginia GOP ǀ (o) 304.768.0493 ǀ (m) 770.709.8816