Editorial: GOP Governor's Race a Complete Tossup

HNN Staff
Editorial:  GOP Governor's Race a Complete Tossup

The Party of Lincoln in West Virginia has never seen anything like it.  Until recently, the Republican Party continued a path it had been on since Arch Moore's re-election year in 1972.

 The trend for the past thirty years has been that one party dignitary, having waited "their turn" for ages, would be coronated the nominee for Governor.  While the party had primaries, almost always the nominee was known from the start.

That's what you get with a shrunken party that is controlled by one man, one family, or one clique.

But the past ten years have seen enormous strides by the West Virginia Republican Party.  Some might call this progress a case of "growing pains." However, in general, the victories experienced by Republican Presidential candidates, Congressional Representatives Capito and McKinley, Governor Underwood, and Supreme Court Justice Benjamin have all served to raise the credibility of the whole Republican Party here.

That's good news not only for Republicans but for the whole state, as the state government and political process have needed the accountability only a two-party system can bring.

Now take a look at the GOP Primary for Governor--what a contrast with the old days!  With three, possibly four viable candidates for Governor, the party veteran, Betty Ireland, can't take victory for granted.  She could be beaten by newcomer Bill Maloney, State Senator Clark Barnes, or perhaps even Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia.  With a bit more money, Delegate Mitch Carmichael and former Delegate Larry Faircloth would be in the hunt, too.

This more vibrant Republican primary process is not your father's Oldsmobile.  The old template is gone, and campaign observers are having to develop new blueprints for uncharted territory.  This all benefits the Republican primary voters, who are being courted like never before.

Commentators say that this primary may only draw ten percent of the registered voters in each party.  Some say that figure could be even less. This means that, for the Republicans, the gaggle of candidates could be dividing up a total of 30,000 voters statewide.  Conceivably, the winner could take the nomination with as little as 7,000 voters.

That is both sad and yet a great incentive for the candidate who can motivate his or her supporters to wake up when others are sleeping.  In any event, this is one Republican gubernatorial primary where the winner is not known from the beginning.

This year's race is a total jump ball.

Comments powered by Disqus