State Tea Party Gaffe and Other Governor's Campaign Tidbits

HNN Staff
State Tea Party Gaffe and Other Governor's Campaign Tidbits

Someone Upset the Teapot

When Republican candidate Mark Sorsaia received the endorsement of the State Tea Party group, many in the local Tea Parties took exception.  Local Tea Parties are 501(c)(4) organizations and can't endorse candidates.  They can provide information to their members, but no endorsements are permitted. 

No word yet on whether the State Tea Party group is also a 501(c)(4), but, if so, the endorsement would be inappropriate and possibly illegal. Sorsaia, a Prosecuting Attorney in Putnam County, could be hurt as much as helped by a questionable endorsement from the group, given that he is a law enforcement official.

Is Speaker Thompson the Sleeper Democratic Candidate?

While much of the attention on the Democratic side has gone to Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and State Treasurer John "Big John" Perdue, House Speaker Rick Thompson has been quietly building support both on TV and through his union connections.  Thompson has secured all major union endorsements and could have a standing army of out-of-state union supporters to come in and help get the vote out on May 14th.

Moreover, Thompson has managed to moderate his liberal image with an effective TV ad detailing his humble roots (no running water as a youngster) and his military service.  In the ad, Thompson is shown playing a guitar and singing a gospel song.  Thompson's ad is seen by many political observers as far superior to John Perdue's lengthy two-minute ad, which apparently is an attempt to coin a new nickname for the State Treasurer:  "Big John."

Perdue appears to be reading from cue cards in a staged group of supporters, and having senior citizens describe how big he is physically simply reinforces Perdue's reputation as a nice guy without much to say.

This Democratic race increasingly looks like a race between the more pro-business Tomblin and the pro-labor Thompson. In a low turnout year, the edge may go to Thompson, with four weeks left to go.

"Let's face it," said HNN Senior Political Consultant Jack Ellis.  "No one has a readymade army for getting out the vote like Thompson does.  And that is what counts the most in this particular race."

Ireland and Barnes Give "Career Best" Speeches

At Lincoln Day Dinners over the weekend, former Secretary of State Betty Ireland and State Senator Clark Barnes were said to have given their best efforts to date in speeches before the Republican faithful.  Ireland, dressed in a resplendent red outfit, hit all of her marks in a forceful speech at the Berkeley County GOP's Lincoln Day before a crowd of 80-100.  Ireland's speech stood in stark contrast to GOP newcomer Bill Maloney in Morgantown, whose delivery was just above a whisper.

Meanwhile, Senator Barnes, who was the only Governor's candidate in attendance at the Barbour County GOP's dinner, brought down the house with his talk on the need for a better business climate and a streamlined state government in West Virginia.  About 100 people turned out for the Barbour County event.



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