10 October 2008

Palin Coming to West Virginia

GOP running mate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans on Sunday to "fly into Huntington, then cross the Ohio River into Ohio," The Charleston Gazette reports.

CNN and The Gazette, citing campaign officials, had earlier reported that Palin had "scheduled a bus tour for Sunday through West Virginia," with CNN viewing that as "another signal that the troubled economy is forcing John McCain’s campaign to play electoral map defense."

But McCain-Palin officials have since described a trip to The Gazette that would instead mirror McCain's previous stops in West Virginia: a brief appearance preceding a more lengthy and involved schedule in the Ohio battleground.

Sunday's appearance follows the first published poll to find Obama ahead of McCain among West Virginia voters.

Update: The Associated Press has an item on Sunday's visit, which lasted an estimated 25 minutes, while it and The Gazette report on Obama rallies spurred by the pit stop.

Hillary Clinton in W.Va.

The Associated Press has details from the former first lady's Friday visit to the University of Charleston in support of Democratic congressional nominee Anne Barth.

"The rally also featured a surprise appearance by Sen. Robert C. Byrd," Barth's former longtime boss, AP reports.

Update: The Charleston Gazette covered the event, as did MetroNews. Both offer photos, while the latter also has audio.

Vote-Buying Figure Denied Pension

The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled against disgraced former longtime Lincoln County Assessor Jerry Weaver, in his bid for a public pension.

The decision creates new case law by further defining “less than honorable service," the standard for denying public retirement benefits.

The Road to the White House Takes the BBC thru W.Va.

As part of its "Talking America" bus tour, the BBC stopped in Madison and Charleston "to explore some of the dilemmas the new President will have to get to grips with: jobs versus the environment; coal-owner versus union; the need for coal versus the need not to have coal."

Besides the audio report, BBC also offers audio of both coal enthusiasts and opponents of mountaintop-removal mining.

WCHS-TV has a report and video on the visit.

(A) McCain in West Virginia

Joe McCain, a brother of the Republican presidential nominee, was slated to headline the Fayette County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner on Thursday. MetroNews had a preview.

09 October 2008

ARG: Obama 50%, McCain 42% in West Virginia

American Research Group's Oct. 4-8 survey of 600 likely voters may be the first poll to find Obama ahead in West Virginia.

Five percent (corrected figure) were undecided, and the margin of error was +/- 4%. The probability was 97.98%.

Among the findings:

  • 54% of women favored Obama (vs. 36% for McCain);
  • 49% of men favored McCain (vs. 46% for Obama);
  • McCain had a slightly larger margin of Republicans than Obama did Democrats (79% to 76%);
  • Obama edged out McCain among independents, 50% to 38%.

"(A)n especially odd result," observes Political Wire.

08 October 2008

Quote of the Day

"We endorsed the governor four years ago when it really made a difference. At this point it looks like he will be reelected and we will continue to have a relationship with him."

-- West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee, explaining to MetroNews why the teachers' group has declined to endorse his bid for a second term.

W.Va. and the Financial Crisis, Cont'd

  • The latest review of state finances by the Rockefeller Institute of Government shows that "West Virginia has bucked the national economic calamity, and has actually led the nation in economic growth since May," The Charleston Gazette reports.
  • A canvass of West Virginia's 53 state-chartered banks found that seven are poised to lose a combined $12.4 million from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac stock, "but those soured investments were spread around and the banks remain well-capitalized," the Charleston Daily Mail reports.
  • MetroNews gets an overview of the bailout's potential effects from Marshall University Vice President of Business and Economic Research Doctor Cal Kent. With audio.

Election 2008 Roundup

  • The West Virginia Education Association has declined to endorse the re-election bid of Gov. Joe Manchin, though the teachers' group has also decided not to back his GOP opponent, either, MetroNews reports. The item notes that the WVEA had been the first major labor group to announce for Manchin in 2004, but that the governor "lashed out" at it during the fight over teacher pay raises earlier this year. With audio.
  • GOP agriculture commission candidate Mike Teets talks to The Intelligencer of Wheeling.
  • State Democratic officials tell The Charleston Gazette that "Sen. Hillary Clinton's visit to Charleston Friday to endorse 2nd Congressional District nominee Anne Barth will be a boost for everyone on the ticket."
  • The Journal of Martinsburg hears from Republican Bob Adams in the 16th District state Senate race.

07 October 2008

Byrd Goes to Nashville

Sen. Robert C. Byrd received the "Dr. Perry Harris Award" during the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville over the weekend. A former longtime player who once perfomed on Hee Haw, the West Virginia Democrat was handed the award by colleague Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., whose staff posted the video.

Hillary Clinton Returning to W.Va.

Sen. Hillary Clinton is throwing her support behind fellow Democrat Anne Barth, planning to stump for the 2nd District congressional challenger Friday in Charleston, The Associated Press reports.

Clinton is slated to appear on Barth's behalf at an open event at the University of Charleston. As AP notes, she "last visited West Virginia just before her overwhelming win in the state's May presidential primary."

The former first lady defeated Barack Obama in that contest, but has since gotten behind his nomination. Update: The Charleston Gazette adds comments from "Tom Vogel, who heads Obama's presidential campaign in West Virginia," and who "said he wasn't sure how much Clinton would stump for Obama during her visit."

06 October 2008

Lobbyist Spending on W.Va. Legislature Reaches $318k

Coca-Cola footed the hotel bill while House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, attended NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in May, and Chesapeake Energy Corp. spent nearly $118 per person on a July dinner for Thompson, Senate President Earl Tomblin, D-Logan, other lawmakers and their spouses, according to lobbyist spending reports scrutinized by The Charleston Gazette.

W.Va. Ad Disclosure Law Remains Under Fire

West Virginians for Life has joined the fight against reporting requirements for independent election-time political ads, The Charleston Gazette and others report.

The group has filed a separate federal lawsuit from the one launched earlier this year by the Center for Individual Freedom. The newer challenge seeks a judge's order blocking, at least temporarily, the spending disclosure provisions that became state law Oct. 1.

"James Bopp Jr., an Indiana lawyer who is representing (WVFL), said the new law limits his client's rights to free speech because it is afraid to publicize former state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman's authorship of a 1993 ruling that made the state pay for abortions for Medicaid recipients," The Gazette reported.

"We're objecting to being regulated in any way by this law," Bopp told that newspaper. "We don't want to be prohibited, we don't want to file [financial] reports, we don't want to do anything under this law."

The Times-West Virginian of Fairmont and The Associated Press also have items.

Election 2008: Legislature

Democrats running for the Legislature enjoy a three-to-one margin both for money raised and cash on hand over their GOP rivals for the last campaign finance filing period, an analysis by The Associated Press shows.

"Reports posted by the Secretary of State's office show legislative candidates collected more than $600,000 between May 26 and Sept. 21," the article said. "With most campaigns reporting cash left over from the primary, spending during the filing period left a collective balance of more than $1.5 million."

The Journal of Martinsburg, meanwhile, takes a closer look at the finance reports of Eastern Panhandle legislative hopefuls.

FSU to Host National Pundits

Bay Buchannon, political commentator and sister of Pat, will debate nationally syndicated columnist and radio host Roland S. Martin 7 p.m. Monday at the Turley Center Ballroom of Fairmont State University. The Times-West Virginian has additional details.