Tea Parties Adding Some Life to GOP Governor's Special Primary

HNN Staff
Tea Parties Adding Some Life to GOP Governor's Special Primary

(Martinsburg) It's early morning at a Ryan's Steakhouse in the busy Foxcroft Road mall area of Martinsburg.  Tea Partiers from across Martinsburg have gathered to listen to three of the Republican Governor's candidates:  State Senator Clark Barnes of Elkins, former Secretary of State Betty Ireland of Charleston, and former Berkeley County Delegate Larry Faircloth of Martinsburg.  

"The Tea Parties across West Virginia bring out as many concerned citizens as any other group out on the campaign trail these days," remarks Senator Barnes.  "They are seriously concerned about the size of state government and the role of government in general.  Any Republican candidate who doesn't show up here isn't serious about the nomination."

And yet several GOP candidates aren't here today, most notably Bill Maloney, the Morgantown drill business owner, who piqued people's interest as a newcomer with what seemed to be a willingness to spend several hundred thousands of dollars to capture the nomination.  However, with no spending on TV by Maloney's campaign, many are questioning just how much money Maloney is serious about spending.

Moreover, with absences at key events like today's Tea Party event in Martinsburg, voters like these are putting more stock in those who show respect to them and their issues by attending their meetings.

Both Faircloth and Barnes played off their knowledge of local issues to appeal to the crowd.  Faircloth reminds people of his former service as a legislator from their area, at one point summoning the name of the uncle of one of the organizers of the meeting.   Barnes--whose gangly senate district stretches from Buckhannon in North Central West Virginia to part of Berkeley County in the Eastern Panhandle--likewise makes sure that those present know that he is from the Eastern part of West Virginia, too.

Ireland, for her part, paid several compliments to the Eastern Panhandle.  "We know you do so much for the rest of us," said Ireland.  She also warned that we are entering a dangerous time in West Virginia politics, pointing to the union activity in states like Wisconsin and Ohio.

"If I'm the nominee, I will have people surrounding me when I go on campaign stops," said Ireland.  "And they will be fully prepared for any eventuality."

This kind of talk raised the eyebrows of at least one audience member.  Following the meeting, he referenced Ireland's remark about needing protection if elected as the nominee.  "Either things are getting more nasty than we know or Betty needs to take off the tight shoes," said the participant. "I'm sure it's been a long campaign for all of them, going all over the state, searching for votes."







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