Secretary of State rep. accused of electioneering for county clerk

Updated 1 week ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, left, and Lee Dean, right, one of his field representatives, pay a visit to Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole prior to her death in August 2017.
West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, left, and Lee Dean, right, one of his field representatives, pay a visit to Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole prior to her death in August 2017.
In a complaint filed in Jan., Joe Powers, the Republican candidate for county clerk, alleges Dean used the power of the Office to tilt November's election in favor of Phyllis Smith, the Democrat appointed by the county commission to fill Cole's vacancy.

By Lawrence J. Smith

            A candidate for county office says a representative of the Secretary of State’s Office crossed the line by electioneering on behalf of his opponent.

           

            Timothy Lee Dean, Jr. is the subject of an election-related complaint filed by Joe D. Powers.  In his complaint filed January 2 with the state Attorney General’s Office, Powers, the Republican candidate for Cabell County Clerk, says Dean used his position to bolster the campaign of Powers’ Democratic opponent, Phyllis K. Smith.

Secretary of State rep. accused of electioneering for county clerk

 

            The Cabell County Commission in September 2017 appointed Smith to fill Karen Cole’s vacancy as clerk.  Cole passed away the month before following a long battle with cancer.

 

            In his complaint, Powers says shortly after beginning his campaign, “I was closely monitored and harassed…” by Dean.  This included not only appearances at dinners and political rallies, but also on social media. 

Secretary of State rep. accused of electioneering for county clerk

 

            “He was always quick to contradict any posting that I would make on my campaign Facebook page,” Powers said. “Most of the time he would react in mere ‘seconds’ to discredit my campaign.”

           

            “It quickly became evident,” he added, “that Lee Dean was spending all of his time closely monitoring all of my activities and statements.”

 

            Dean’s actions, Powers alleges, segued into open advocacy less than a month prior to the election.  Prior to his Oct. 11 appearance on “The Tom Roten Show,” Powers says Roten informed him Dean was recently a guest on the show, and endorsed Smith.

 

            “Immediately after my guest spot on the show,” Powers says, “I received a harassing message (via social media), from Lee Dean.”  The details of the message are not provided in the complaint.

 

            As if the electioneering weren’t enough, Powers avers Dean aided in the canvassing of the ballots.

 

            “After Election Day, Lee Dean was ‘on hand’ to help count the votes,” Powers said. “Guess what?  I lost by 6% (Lee Dean’s total)."

 

              According the official results posted on WVSoS’ Web site, Smith received 14,857 votes to Powers’ 13,137.

 

            Even after blocking him on Facebook following the election, Powers alleges Dean continued to harass him.  In his complaint, Powers says Dean on his state-issued cell phone first texted, then called him shortly after being blocked.

 

            Powers concludes his complaint asking “Is it the policy of the State of West Virginia or the Secretary of State to ‘harass’ political candidates?”

 

            HuntingtonNews.net reached out to not only Secretary of State Mac Warner for a comment on Powers’ allegations, but also to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey about the status of the complaint.  However, neither returned repeated telephone calls.

 

            According to the state Auditor’s Office, Dean, 42, of Huntington, is a field representative for WVSoS, and receives a salary of $30, 289.50.  In addition to Cabell, he serves Wayne, Lincoln, Boone, Logan, MingoWyoming and McDowell counties.

 

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