HNN Staff
EDITORIAL: Like Kentucky Derby Winner Animal Kingdom, Clark Barnes Will Win GOP Governor's Primary

Last Saturday, horse racing lovers got the kind of finish they love to see: an unexpected surge from a feisty horse that had long odds to win.  But win Animal Kingdom did, bustling out of the pack in the last quarter mile to win comfortably over the two horses who had led for most of the race.  

The current GOP primary for Governor in West Virginia is strangely similar to that real horse race in Louisville, Kentucky--that is, if Senator Clark Barnes of Elkins has anything to do with it.

Barnes is listed in political observer Bill Phillips' online Billboard today as the first among the longshots, following the conventional wisdom that this is currently a Betty Ireland/Bill Maloney race.  Phillips says that, while Maloney and Ireland remain out front, Senator Barnes has the next best chance of winning.

This is a fair assumption to make, given Barnes' command over nine counties in Eastern West Virginia in his 15th Senatorial District.  No one else in the Republican Party starts with that many counties in strong support.  Ireland has a thin coating of statewide recognition from her term as Secretary of State, and Maloney has been trying to make up for lost time by sending out a good many TV spots statewide.  Unfortunately for him, Maloney's ads are as dull and formulaic as Maloney's speeches.

So now Maloney has turned to trying to suppress Ireland's vote with negative robocalls around the state. This is how some modern campaigns think: if they can't get you to like them, they'll try to get you to dislike their opponents.   Ireland has already shown the willingness to fight back, so now we have a classic cockfight, with spurs, between Ireland and Maloney.

But the public can get really turned off to this and many Republicans already are saying "a pox on both their houses" when it comes to Maloney and Ireland.  As this last week of the campaign progresses, Clark Barnes has a great opportunity to present himself as the best and most appealing choice, while Maloney and Ireland slash and burn each other.

Just as Animal Kingdom scooted out of the pack and ran for the finish line with renewed vigor, watch State Senator Clark Barnes, the thoroughbred from Elkins, as he makes his move.  He knows how to do it, he's done it before, so this should be exciting to watch.

For more information, contact the Barnes for Governor website at: or look up Clark Barnes on Facebook.