Editorial: A Texas-sized Solution for the WV GOP

HNN Staff
Ward Wyatt, Exec. Director, WV Republican Party
Ward Wyatt, Exec. Director, WV Republican Party

When GOP State Chairman and Huntington resident Conrad Lucas took a look at his party's condition after last November's general election, he had some bragging rights for sure.  In addition to electing the first Republican Attorney General in West Virginia in nearly three generations, West Virginia voters also put another Republican on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

But then came the piece de resistance:  enough gains in the West Virginia state legislature to put the Republican Party within a five seat striking distance of overtaking the House of Delegates.  That must have made even the ever-boastful Democratic Chairman and Manchin Gateway Fairmont business partner Larry Puccio wonder a bit. 

Is West Virginia's tendency to vote "red" on national Presidential races finally beginning to trickle down to state and local races?

Time, alone will tell.  However, Lucas, a young man with a propensity to roll the dice, has come up with an interesting selection for his party's Executive Director.  Some may ask, "Don't we have talent enough here in the Mountain State?"  Sure we do. 

But in William Ward Wyatt, Lucas may have the best of both worlds:  someone with West Virginia statewide political experience AND someone from a state that has been easily electing statewide Republican leaders for decades.

Wyatt got his chops in West Virginia politics last year by serving as the campaign manager for the Leonhardt for Agriculture Commissioner campaign.  Those who worked directly with Wyatt were pleasantly surprised.  For a Texan, Wyatt was confident, yet humble personally.  A real team player, one who took time to listen to everyone's concerns. 

As a result of the hard work of Wyatt's candidate, former Marine Colonel Kent Leonhardt and Wyatt's own political savvy, Leonhardt nearly upended a veteran Democratic politico, longtime State Senator Walt Helmick.  Considering how late Leonhardt got into that race, Helmick's margin of victory was remarkably razor-thin.

So now Lucas has chosen to deploy Wyatt across the mountains of West Virginia again, utilizing Wyatt's people-skills and organizational ability to build more muscles in key legislative districts across the state.  Lucas and Wyatt come from a new generation of Republicans who don't understand why the Democrats shouldn't be contested everywhere, especially in the state's Third Congressional District.

Conrad Lucas is a riverboat gambler at heart.  Last year, he through an ace on the table in the form of calling for West Virginia voters to vote "Straight Ticket Republican" as a response to President Obama's Obamacare health plan and his attacks on the state's coal industry.  That bet paid off in some of those legislative wins.  Lucas, a native of Lincoln County, is now ready to take the fight to the Democrats in the most unlikely of places.

But he needed a never-say-die political warrior to help him implement his designs for 2014.  In Ward Wyatt, Lucas has his own Stonewall Jackson, ready to outflank, outwit, and out-hustle the other party, wherever he can.

We look forward to their efforts...and their results in the 2014 election cycle.


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