HNN Staff

The bitter remarks being exchanged by GOP Governor's candidates Bill Maloney and Betty Ireland are already wearing us out.   You may feel the same way.  The exchange of nasty, namecalling remarks in the Charleston Daily Mail today shows that there are deep fissures in the Party of Lincoln, ones that might be difficult to heal by October.

The issue in play is the $8 billion unfunded liability for the State of West Virginia known as "OPED" and how to pay for it.  Ireland put a proposal forward, and Maloney harshly condemned it--yet neither he nor his staff submitted a solution of their own.

But beyond this particular issue is the whole problem of civility that now looks increasingly like a casualty in this race, with Maloney and Ireland firing away on each other, as if they forget that they need a united party behind them or any other candidate on the Republican side following this primary.   Republican Party voters must begin to look for other alternatives to these, too, who look very unwilling to help one another, should either win the primary.

The Party of Lincoln greatly needs a unifier coming out of this primary, someone who is informed, articulate, and who can bring in friendly Democrats and Independents to help us win in October.   That man is State Senator Clark Barnes of Elkins, who has already shown a great skill in attracting conservative Democrats and Independents, along with his base supporter Republicans in his nine-member Eastern West Virginia district.

While Maloney and Ireland are caterwauling like newborns at one another, Senator Barnes continues to be the adult in his drive across West Virginia. People outside his district are coming to appreciate his sincere listening ability, as well as his own strong conservative stands on the key issues of jobs, fiscal responsibility, highways, and education for our children. Barnes doesn't have to shout to be heard, like the juvenile delinquents, Ireland and Maloney.   He prefers respectful dialogue with all West Virginians.

The real danger of displays like the one we've seen this week between Maloney and Ireland is that it drives down voter interest in this year's election even more than it already is.   Interest in this race is very low already, so when grown adults act like this, how can that possibly help turn out more Republican voters?

But if they start to investigate a third road out of this primary, one that runs through Elkins with a vote for Senator Clark Barnes, maybe some hope can re-enter the picture.  For more information about Clark Barnes' candidacy for Governor and his stands on the main issues, go to: