Archive for October, 2012


Monday, October 29th, 2012

You can bet Sandy would not win any election but all interest is focused on her.  However, Political Junkies like me and a lot of you are wondering what impact she will have and where does things stand as the snow begins to fall.

The immediate impact is likely to be an increase in early voting.  Secondarily, Governor Tomblin has suspended his campaign to oversee the preparations as West Virginians prepare to cope with Sandy.   Candidate Bill Maloney in a tweet urged West Virginians to help each other.

On the practical side campaigns count on last minute door-to- door efforts to turn out their voters.  Many neighborhoods are cleared of campaign signs that might blow away.  Romney signs have been in huge demand and would be hard to replace at this point.

Likely many candidates will postpone trips and county political organizations will cancel get-out-to vote events.  Locally organized phone volunteers with lists at home will continue to call – as long as phone service remains.

Of course, those last minute direct mail pieces will make it as the mail always runs.  But Sandy may cause you to miss a few TV commercials.

Where things stand can be found on a chart [click to see] Secretary of State Tennant tweeted a couple hours go.  It shows county-by-county early votes and absentee ballots returned as of October 29th.

Once Sandy has cast her spell you can bet campaigns will go into a full court press until November 6th election day – hold on…it could be some ride.


Mother’s Milk

Friday, October 26th, 2012

There is an old expression “money is the mother’s milk of politics.”  WV candidates are filing their last report before the November 6th election.  PHILLIPSBILLBOARD provides readers an easy way to see where the money comes from and where it goes.  Listed below are the statewide races with the most interest.  You can click on the candidate name to view their report.  The report of others who are required to file with the Secretary of State may be found by clicking here.

The candidates for Attorney General must have been playing a cat & mouse game as they did not file their reports until just before midnight.  That race has gotten hot and interesting this week.  Plus according to news accounts a lot of out of state money has shown up to help candidate Morrisey in his effort to replace AG McGraw.


Bill Maloney

Earl Ray Tomblin

Attorney General

Darrell McGraw

Patrick Morrisey

State Treasurer

John Perdue

Mike Hall

Commissioner of Agriculture

Walt Helmick

Kent Leonhart

Justice of Supreme Court

Letitia “Tish” Chafin

Robin Jean Davis

Allen Loughry

John Yoder

Political Tidbits…10.26.12

Friday, October 26th, 2012

A few Tidbits for your weekend…not that you have not had enough politics…let’s hope it is over in 11 days…but with the presidential race so tight

This makes me wonder…are Republicans concerned this could end up in the House of Representatives…this might explain the unusual push to defeat incumbent Democrat…Rep. Nick Joe Rahall.

A Washington friend believes…you can feel the fingernails of the Obama team screeching against their campaign blackboard.

WEATHER THREAT…meteorologist say WV could have heavy rain and even some early next week— VOTE EARLY and as the old saying goes…often.

Campaign activity is picking up…Republicans held a Freedom Dinner last night…and Democrats are holding their delayed Jefferson Jackson affair on Saturday…with former presidential candidate Dick Gephardt leading the pre-election cheers.

Last night…Democrats had major events in Berkeley, Fayette and Marion counties…more GOTV rallies set  for Cabell, Logan early Saturday…the rallying cry is EARLY VOTING.

Mitt Romney’s longtime friend Dan McBride…tonight headlines a “My Friend Mitt” dinner being organized by Wayne County Republicans…with Dallas Thacker & Joey Robinett  pushing the event in his role as a State GOP Committee members.

Two hard working legislative candidates I have been watching in districts 35 & 36 are JB McCuskey and Robin Holstein…they were among the few who showed up at a Thomas Hospital event…more no shows than candidates…the no show incumbents in these districts may get a lesson from these two.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell…was here yesterday to raise funds for John Raese…a $2,500 energy roundtable was held at the Greer Mansion…in Morgantown…McConnell joined National Republican Chairman Reince Priebus at the Freedom Dinner.

Past meets the future in political communications…Twitter and Facebook are playing a role…and it is expected to grow…an interesting piece from The State Journal sheds light on both.

An experienced political observer emailed…Obama will do a little bit better in WV than most people think…it appears most Republican candidates are tying their campaign [and hopes] to voters  picking them…because their opponent supports [or may] Obama for re-election.

A memo from GOP Chair Conrad Lucas says…his party has a 3 to 1 cash advantage over the WV Democratic Party.

What’s going on in the Governor’s race…too quiet.

Candidates are beginning to tout endorsements…emails and news releases are coming to PHILLIPSBILLBOARD…if you’re interested the WV Press Association has done a great job…compiling newspaper endorsements to date…here is a list.

Economic growth is what the national election is all about…there is a great book The 4% Solution:  Unleashing the Economic Growth American Needs from The George W. Bush Institute…packed with contributions from Nobel laureates…economists…business leaders and public intellectuals…get your copy @ an online bookstore.

In my Fatigue piece…it was pointed out only the AG race appeared to have any energy…boy has that changed…candidate emails & news clips show a heated race developing [at last minute] between Treasurer Perdue and Mike Hall the GOP challenger…this could be the sleeper race for Republicans.

Note that Greg Thomas is tweeting again…account must have been renewed.

CBS This Morning [yesterday]…had an interview that showed the personal side of Mitt Romney…this is one I must share…so click now [disclaimer – I serve as WV Romney Chair]



Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Books elect presidents not a slick pamphlet laid out like a magazine.  The Obama campaign’s release of this last minute brochure makes him look a candidate running for almost any office on a shoe string budget.

Obama’s brochure has 20 pages covering manufacturing, energy, small business, education, the tax code, improving health care and retirement securing.  These appear to be a rehash of his ideas of the last four years – sort like his speeches.

When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992 he published 231 page book “Putting People First”.  When the Republicans won the House of Representatives in 1994 they published a 197 page book entitled “Contract with America”.

Candidate Clinton’s book covered 32 topics from Agriculture to women.  He had a serious vision for America.  Contract with America was the result of serious work and was signed by the 367 Republican candidates.

According to POLITICO Obama’s Chicago-based brain trust had intended to highlight four years of “solid, steady progress” in the final days of the race.  On Tuesday a bullet-point plan was released for a second term – which his team long resisted despite appeals from likes of Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and James Carville.

Well I doubt the Obama magazine will become internationally recognized as Newsweek which will cease publishing print edition after nearly 80 years.


A glossy pamphlet isn’t a plan

By Senator Orrin Hatch

A Second First Term

The Wall Street Journal




Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Voters start to the polls today.  They have faced six elections starting in 2010.  Voters are suffering election fatigue, the candidates are running tried campaigns and the money providers are drained.

Campaigns need energy to be successful.  The Governor’s race in WV has always been the energy creator but not this time.  Governor Tomblin seemed to spend his summer governing and dealing with problems not of his doing.  Candidate Maloney has worked under the radar.  Neither generating the enthusiasm required.

Today the action appears to be race for Attorney General.  Hardly what one would expect with a candidate (Morrisey) coming from outside our borders.   Incumbent McGraw has faced difficult battles in the past but not like this one.  It appears Morrisey is running a website campaign with an ad on every site visited.  I would have advised McGraw to follow a different campaign strategy than he has for years.  One that would have generated energy to fuel his re-election bid.  We’ll see.

There have been no public polls since R L Repass and Partners released their work in early September for the WV Chamber of Commerce.  But you can bet if Candidate Maloney had an internal poll showing him at the edge of victory it would have been leaked – or he would be writing another big check.  He needs the energy I recall from Governor Underwood’s 1996 for him to win.

The incumbent Governor Tomblin is expected to be in the lead.  His concern should be Southern voters who were a big factor in his earlier election.  Southern coal miners are not going to vote for Obama – that is a given.  But will they leave their traditional Democratic party to vote for Romney?  They may just not vote.  Remember when United Mine Workers declared a holiday in 1996 so their members would go out and vote for Democrat Charlotte Pritt.  Cecil Underwood won while the miners went squirrel hunting.

What could save Democrats in close races across the state is Senator Manchin.  Though he appears safe for re-election he is out working every day and has made some strategic moves.

Republican Party leaders have created high expectations among their county leaders.  Most see hope for a top down victory starting with Governor Romney.  The question is…will Romney have coattails?  If not, despite Republicans putting up their best slate of Board of Public Works candidates in years success may not be at their doorstep.

With such outstanding candidates and the need to change various state officials I would have offered this strategy.  One that was coordinated from the top that included fund raising, messaging, scheduling and marketing.  However, one thing being coordinated is the GOP effort to get-out-the vote thru eight Victory offices spread around the state.  This should pay dividends.

The Democratic Party has always run coordinated get-out-vote efforts.  Not much has ever been known about the elements used.  With the baggage of Obama on that ticket their candidates had better hope the party faithful go to the polls.

The most important take away message from this piece is don’t let fatigue keep you from the polls.

Political Valley

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

As you can see there is a divide in the way the newspapers in “political valley” look at various races.  The WV Press Association has pushed this week as Endorsement Week.  As a result it is easier for voters to compare the opinions of newspaper editorial boards.  They are to be commended for taking this action.  Earlier this week we carried other endorsement editorials & news.  Go to PHILLIPSBILLBOARD to read.   Click on the headline to read the full story.

Endorsements show wide-ranging opinions

The WV Press Association

What’s your opinion on the status of politics in West Virginia?  It’s a state with a Democratic voting majority that has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections.  Political opinions can clearly shift in the Mountain State.

Ag commissioner

Editorial [The Charleston Daily Mail]

The state Department of Agriculture has a budget of $65 million a year and a staff of more than 350 people.  For 44 of the last 48 years Democrat Gus Douglass has been its commissioner.

Chafin, Davis

Editorial [The Charleston Gazette]

A long stretch of West Virginia’s future hinges on one portion of the Nov. 6 election ballot, which will fill tow 12 year-tem on the state Supreme Court.  The winners will help set Mountain State legal precedents affecting all aspects of life.

Tomblin: Governor choice

Editorial [The Charleston Gazette]

We wish Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin were more loyal to the Democratic Party and willing to support President Obama for a second term in the White House. However, in the Nov. 6 election, voters must choose among names on the gubernatorial ballot. The Republican nominee is so unpalatable that we have no choice but to back Tomblin.


Editorial [The Charleston Gazette] 

Since he first became West Virginia’s attorney general in 1993, Darrell McGraw has won more than $2 billion for the state, mostly from dubious operators who violated state consumer laws. 


Editorial [The Charleston Daily Mail] 

The governor’s race only seems like it’s between Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Republican challenger Bill Maloney.  It should be about the elephant in the room.

Attorney general

Editorial [The Charleston Daily Mail]

The attorney general is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state.  Darrell McGraw has occupied that position for 20 long years.

Supreme Court

Editorial [The Charleston Daily Mail]

West Virginia has a reputation for a prickly legal climate.  That perception developed in part because of legislative decisions, in part from how the attorney general has used his office, and in part because some State Supreme Court justices were not committed to fairness.


Huge out-of-state spending in West Virginia attorney general’s race

By Ry Rivard

A conservative, anti-regulation group is spending $1.6 million to try to defeat Democrat Attorney General Darrell McGraw, according to West Virginia Secretary of State records.

TV attack ads for 3rd District spill into Charleston

By Jared Hunt [Daily Mail Capitol Reporter]

Although they can’t vote in the race for 3rd Congressional District, Kanawha Valley residents have heard a lot about Rep. Nick Rahall and Republican Rick Snuffer lately. 

Ryan Here Saturday

The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will hold a rally Saturday at Valley View Campgrounds near Morristown.

Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the event at noon. The venue is located at 43523 National Road, near the Jamboree In The Hills site.

To RSVP and receive a ticket, visit or go to the Steubenville Victory Center, 100 Mall Drive B-8, Steubenville.


Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Political news and endorsements have increased this week.  I will share a few to assist readers who are not in the “political valley” keep up.   Click on the headline to read full story.

U. S. Senate

W.Va. needs to change the Senate; Republican John Raese would

The Charleston Daily Mail

The U.S. Senate race between former legislator, secretary of state and Gov. Joe Manchin and his Republican challenger, John Raese, presents a painful choice for many West Virginians. 

Political ad may spark lawsuit

By Zack Harold [Daily Mail Staff]

State Sen. Walt Helmick’ s campaign for state agriculture commissioner last week threatened legal action against Suddenlink Communications if the cable company continued running a Republican-sponsored ad against him.

Republicans Making a Comeback

By Mike Myer [The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register]

I don’t belong to an organized political party, goes the old joke – I’m a Democrat. For some time in West Virginia, that would have been more appropriate for Republicans.

Congress: 2nd District

The Charleston Mail

Republican Shelley Moore Capito works hard and with all people

Few members of Congress are as hard working and effective as Republican Shelley Moore Capito has been.

Romney is clearly the best choice

The Inter-Mountain

Before casting your vote in the election for president, ask yourself two questions:

First, is the United States better off today than four years ago? Even more important, will you be better off four years from now?

State treasurer

The Charleston Daily Mail

Republican Mike Hall would be a distinct asset in this position

THE state Treasurer’s Office runs a $13 billion banking operation, a program that lets people save for children’s education; and a division that connects people with unclaimed property.

Manchin, Baber discuss mountaintop mining, redistricting after Raese walkout

By Eric Eyre [The Charleston Gazette]

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and Mountain Party candidate Bob Henry Baber told Gazette editors Friday that they support expanding West Virginia’s renewable energy portfolio, but they also said the state can’t abandon coal.

Democrat voter base in decline

By Jared Hunt [Daily Mail Capitol Reporter]

Though still in the majority statewide, West Virginia Democrats have seen their ranks erode over the last four years as independents have gained force.

Editorial: Tomblin has proven during tenure he’s best choice to lead the state

The Herald-Dispatch

The past 24 months have been busy ones for West Virginia politics and Earl Ray Tomblin. 

Maloney tax plans tangled

By Ry Rivard [Daily Mail Capitol Reporter]

The Republican candidate for governor said he wants to amend the state constitution to eliminate a key tax on businesses and give local governments more authority to come up with their own taxes.

Manchin:  Only Choice

The Charleston Gazette 

As we’ve said before, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is partly a DINO (Democrat in name only). He stands with Republicans on some major issues — in contrast to West Virginia’s senior senator, Jay Rockefeller. Manchin won’t even say whether he will vote for Democratic President Obama, and he refused to attend the Democratic National Convention, to avoid identification with the national ticket.

Bob’s View

Monday, October 15th, 2012

[Editor’s Note:  After the last presidential debate I got an email from Bob Harris a longtime friend.  He provided me his views about the debate and Obama’s inability to use the tools of his position.  Bob is an astute observer of Washington, the national political scene and Congress. I thought Bob’s email observation and the Michael Gerson column he sent would be interesting reading before tomorrow’s presidential debate.  He agreed to this being published.]

Throughout Obama’s Presidency, I have complained about his inability to use the White House and his powerful position to any advantage, whether politically or diplomatically.  He just hasn’t seemed to understand and, therefore take advantage, of his own office.  It is his only for the trappings.  Very frustrating…

Obama debate performance and week following has further demonstrated his total lack of understanding of his office and how to use.  He stood side-by-side with Romney and let Romney dominate him in a debate — this after nearly 4 years of standing next to leaders from around the world. Odd and very frustrating…but not unexpected.

Romney has more positions that some jockeys have mounts during a racing season.  He can’t find one he likes and will stick to it long enough to embrace it.

I am forwarding Michael Gerson’s column from the Post today pointing out how Romney has found a new voice — a convincing voice at that.  It is the voice of “his inner centrist.”  This is very important and it must be understood for what it is by the President and the Obama team before the next debate.  If Obama does not turn this new trend toward Romney by the debate next week, he will be inside the 16th pole with blinkers on, not seeing Romney charging past him from behind.

The column is below, but I pulled out the last paragraph to highlight here:

“Anger in the Obama camp is understandable. Romney seems comfortable with his new tone — almost relieved to be back into Massachusetts mode. He is better positioned to appeal to independents in Ohio and elsewhere. And Obama is still reacting to Romney, not the other way around. Days after they parted in Denver, Romney is still dominating the debate.”

This is where the President’s lack of understand of the power of his office really comes through.  An incumbent president should never be in the position of responding…And, that is what we have seen for the past 3-plus years, why should anyone expect that to change during the campaign.

From Romney, a change in tone, not policy

By Michael Gerson, Published: October 8

Mitt Romney’s debate message has become his campaign strategy. In Denver, he was a bipartisan dealmaker, concerned about the lives of real people, especially when they inhabit battleground states. A day later, he apologized for his “47 percent” comment — which should have been done weeks before. In that same interview, he went on to talk about social mobility: “The gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger. . . . I want the poor to get into the middle class.” His stump speech now features populist themes. Romney has discovered his inner centrist.

After considering their range of options, critics have chosen apoplexy. Democratic officials accused Romney of “outright fabricating” and “basically lying.” David Axelrod called Romney “Gantry-esque” — a charge of exceptional viciousness, hidden by literary obscurity. (Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry was an alcoholic, abusive, sacrilegious fraud.) President Obama, after recovering from the Denver altitude, set out this challenge: “If you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.”

So is Romney being “dishonest” (Axelrod) or tacking a bit toward the middle, as presidential candidates often do? Is this readjustment fraudulent or merely later than expected?

For the most part, Romney has shifted his tone and emphasis, not his policy. All along, he has proposed tax reform, not merely tax cuts. He never opposed all federal financial regulations — though this is not the kind of thing a Republican emphasizes in the primaries. In these cases, Romney hasn’t changed his plans. He has merely refuted caricatures of his plans. You can hardly blame a man for refusing to be a straw man.

On a few issues in the debate, Romney’s transformation seemed a little too eager. Maintaining education funding seems at odds with his proposal for a 5 percent, across-the-board cut in federal discretionary spending — though it wouldn’t be that hard to make up $3.5 billion in education cuts elsewhere in a $425 billion domestic discretionary budget, if this is Romney’s intention. His health plan would not guarantee insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions in every case. But it would heavily subsidize the purchase of health insurance and guarantee that anyone with coverage could move from insurance to insurance without facing preexisting-condition exclusions.

These claims are within the bounds of normal, unscripted imprecision during a debate. For the most part, Romney was attempting to present his moderate conservative agenda in a favorable light to independent voters. I’d prefer that agenda to be more creative, particularly in promoting equal opportunity and social mobility. But it is not deception to emphasize the most appealing portions of your proposals. It is the nature of political persuasion.

The accusation of lying shuts down all genuine policy debate. Romney promises, for example, a 20 percent, across-the-board reduction in income taxes, with lost revenue made up by economic growth and cutting loopholes and deductions for the wealthy. I suspect these sources, in the end, would not be sufficient. So you can either close some loopholes for the upper middle class or reduce the 20 percent tax cut (a prospect one of Romney’s economic advisers has raised). This is worth a debate. But such a debate is rendered impossible by the questioning of motives. This is a genuine disagreement, not attempted fraud. Romney is making an argument, not engaged in a plot. And a refusal to engage the argument indicates an inability to engage the argument seriously or successfully.

Those who urge Obama in the next debate to call Romney a liar, or close to it, are doing him no favors.  It is one thing to do this on the stump, where taunting and mocking result in applause. It is another thing to try this tactic face to face, where it nearly always seems desperate and small. Because of the manner of Obama’s failure in the first debate — by being too passive — he will need to be more aggressive in the next. But that is a difficult trait to calibrate, particularly in a president prone to public petulance. A small turn of the faucet and the cold water suddenly scalds.

Anger in the Obama camp is understandable. Romney seems comfortable with his new tone — almost relieved to be back into Massachusetts mode. He is better positioned to appeal to independents in Ohio and elsewhere. And Obama is still reacting to Romney, not the other way around. Days after they parted in Denver, Romney is still dominating the debate.



Political Tidbits…10.12.12

Friday, October 12th, 2012

TAKE AWAYS from last night’s VP debate…Biden has been watching too many Gore re-runs from 2000 debate…and they should never have put Red Bull in his holding room…both bases won…Obama is going to Williamsburg for three days…debate prep or American history lesson?

Consumer protection and getting personal has over taken the AG race…today’s Charleston Gazette story paints a picture of quarreling during editorial board…read the story.

GOP candidate Bill Maloney is organizing a Town Hall… 6PM Monday at Charleston Civic Center [big place]…maybe the attendance count will tell us where the Governor’s race stands.

Twitter is about to take over the political world…you should have read it last night…don’t have an accountget one…or miss out on a lot of interesting views…plus it’s fun.

New technology makes it easier to be a campaign volunteer…you can make GOTV calls right from home…try the Romney Call From Home program…just click above to start.

A new Mike Stuart…gave a “fair and balanced” view of the Tomblin/Maloney debate on Talkline…the morning after…maybe planning a political comeback…some of us miss him.

Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was covered by political writer Joselyn King in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register yesterday.

Romney surrogates are on the move in WV…Fred Dailey took the lead at a Parkersburg Tea Party outdoor event…Charlotte Lane [just back from DC where she was an International Trade Commissioner] hit the road for Fayette GOP dinner…Delegate Bob Ashley will eat OX as the Fairgrounds in Cottageville Oct. 20…Bill Phillips made the trip over the mountain to a Pendleton County dinner.

On a personal note…great to see Robin Holstein and JB McCuskey endorsed this AM by Charleston Daily Mail…important point made about Holstein…she would be first delegate in “eons” to live in upper Kanawha Valley…they got it right about McCuskey saying he is a change agent…both of these personal favorites will bring fresh ideas to the job…want new blood in the Legislature…send them a contribution.

WV Department of Ed launched an anti-bullying campaign yesterday…wonder if VP Joe Biden should enroll in the program.

SOS race has come down to solving problems…read about it in The Charleston Daily Mail.

West Virginians wanting to attend an official Romney event in the battleground states on our border should get the Mitt Events app…download the it here free

Watch your newspapers next week…the WV Press Association says it will be endorsement week.

Your Decision

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

[Editor’s Explanation: I quickly learned reviewing the daily newspapers across the state was overwhelming in my quest to provide statewide political news.  I appreciate the response from those outside the “political valley” and will work to provide coverage of significant stories.]

Last evening the 2012 gubernatorial candidates [Governor Tomblin & Bill Maloney] participated in an hour long debate.  The Associated Press which normally provides media coverage to its clients without state capitol based reporters decided not to cover the debate.  The sponsors I believe unfairly would not allow photographers and reporters to cover the debate in the same room as the candidates and permitted only video coverage of the event. The other two candidates whose names will appear on the ballot were excluded.  Hopefully, the stories below will give PHILLIPSBILLBOARD readers a feel of the debate.  The sponsors were the WV Broadcasters Association and the AARP.

Click on the headline to read the full story.

Tomblin, Maloney stand their ground during debate

By Ann Ali [Senior Political Reporter, The State Journal]

After an hour of debate between Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and is Republican challenger Bill Maloney, there wasn’t a whole lot of new ground to cover.

Tomblin, Maloney go at it in debate

By Phil Kabler [Staff writer, The Charleston Gazette]

Charleston, WV – In the only debate of their rematch campaign for governor, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin stressed his steady leadership and fiscal responsibility, while Republican Bill Maloney argued that West Virginia has lost jobs and economic opportunities during Tomblin’ s 37 years in state politics.

Tomblin, Maloney square off in first and only debate this year

By Ry Rivard [Daily Mail Capitol Reporter]

Charleston, WV – Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Republican challenger Bill Maloney went toe-to-toe Tuesday night in the year’s first and only televised gubernatorial debate.