EDITORIAL: In GOP Governor's Race, Is Bill Maloney All Hat and No Cattle?



Weary political observers in both major parties always enjoy a fresh face in a big campaign. Such people may shake things up and make the rest of the candidates follow their lead. This tradition is at least as old as Ross Perot in our generation’s recent memory. Who could forget the swagger and command performance of the Texas billionaire back in 1996? Yet, Perot didn't win.

Such figures oftentimes see their stock decline as quickly as it rose. Why are figures of such promise oftentimes disappointments?

That’s simple: people projected their hopes on such new candidates rather than really getting acquainted with them first. When people discover that their great hopes were placed on an individual who doesn’t seem to get what they’re about, the honeymoon is over and renewed weariness can sit in.

This is the case in the West Virginia GOP rank and file lately with the much-touted candidacy of Bill Maloney, a heretofore unknown Morgantown businessman. At first, Republican circles were abuzz with Maloney for one simple reason: apparently, he’s done reasonably well in his drilling business. That single fact attracted attention, because Republicans know, in order to have a shot at the Governorship this year, they need someone who can at least match the funds given by donors.

But the reports from the campaign trail are at best mixed for Maloney, who hasn’t been in a campaign before. No one can remember him attending any Republican or conservative events before this race, either. So while the other candidates see friends at these campaign stops or other venues around the state, Maloney is just getting acquainted.

By all accounts, Maloney seems to be a nice guy. Some say that he looks like a taller version of State Senator Truman Chafin—is that a compliment? But the takeaway by many who have heard him out on the hustings this year is that he’s just not thought much about what he’s gotten himself into. If he had been more reflective, he’d have more to say than talking about his time in Chile.

West Virginians are more concerned about each Governor’s candidates ideas for job creation, better roads and schools, and in knowing that their next Governor is going to fight hard to make our state government more accountable to the taxpayers.

Politics has a significant learning curve, so when starting off one’s political career, one needs to begin small. Running for the top job in the state for one’s first campaign is a tall order, especially if you haven't got many issues under your belt.


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