Archive for May, 2011

New Poll on Governor’s Race

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

The polls closed just over 72 hours ago on the special primary election to select the nominees to be the next West Virginia Governor.

Public Policy Polling based in North Carolina has already polled to see where the Governor’s race stands today. 

The results of this survey may be viewed by clicking here.

Updated Breaking Poll Tomblin Strong Lead

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Released minutes ago is an independent look at the special primary election slated for Saturday.  The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling based in North Carolina.  The firm has been polling the race to nominate who will be candidates seeking to become West Virginia’s next Governor.

The results of this survey may be views by clicking here.

Late Breaking Poll

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Released minutes ago is an independent look at the special primary election slated for Saturday.  The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling based in North Carolina.  The firm has been polling the race to nominate who will be candidates seeking to  become West Virginia’s next Governor.

The results of this survey may be views by clicking here.

Political News

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Obama and Boehner Face Off on Role of Government

By Michael D. Shear

The coming clash between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner over the budget, entitlements and the nation’s debt is being driven by political calculations that will loom large in tense negotiations this spring and into the summer.  Read the full story here.

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 Observations 5.03.11

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Study the labels and vote

By Jim Lees (Charleston Gazette Op Ed)

As a former candidate for governor, I have more than a passing interest in the current campaign to replace Gov. Manchin until the 2012 election.  Among candidates for the Democratic nomination (I leave it to my many Republican friends to sort out the Republican race). I’m most interested in what issues candidates present to the public.  What a better way than to check each candidate’s website to see what pops out as the initial message.   Read the full Op-Ed here.

The Next Question – How High and How Long?

By POLITICO’S Morning Score

The Republican pollsters at Public Opinion Strategies put together a chart tracking national security-related bumps dating back to Pearl Harbor and concluded: “On average, the President’s approval rating increases 13 points and a bump lasts an average of 22 weeks. That does not include the 105 week bump that President George W. Bush received after 9/11. The ‘bump’ on job approval shows the total increase in approval rating from prior to the event. The duration of the increase indicates the number of weeks until the President’s job approval rating returned to the prior level (so, for instance, the 35 point bump that George W. Bush got did not last the entire 105 weeks – the spike was the high, and it took 105 weeks to return to the pre-9/11 level.)” See the chart here:


Yes, Bin Laden’s Death Will help Obama, but for How Long?

By Nate Silver (The New York Times)

Obama bin Laden is dead.

I got the news on Twitter while in a taxi back from J. F. K. Airport.  I told my cabbie, who was in disbelief at first, to turn the radio on.  We took in the story together.  I’m as patriotic as the next guy: it was a nice moment.

I suppose I’m supposed to weigh in on the electoral implications of this.  It’s both very easy and difficult to write about.  Read the full story here.