CHARLESTON — The abrupt resignation of Mingo County’s Delegate Harry Keith White, a Gilbert Democrat, has sparked speculation as to his potential replacement.
Some Mingo Democrats have already gathered informally to discuss plans while others made phone calls and talked on the streets.
Reliable sources said White’s fellow Democrat Delegate, Justin Marcum, has been making campaign calls urging the appointment of H.K. White’s wife, Phyllis. One former legislator in Charleston said he’d been told H.K. White “received an assurance from Governor (Earl Ray) Tomblin to appoint Phyllis before he’d quit.”
The Governor will ultimately appoint White’s successor. The District Democrat Executive Committee will provide three recommendations but Tomblin is not, by law, required to adhere to that list.
White represented the 19th District from 1992 to 1995 and from 1997 to 2003. His district became the 21st and he office from 2003 to the present.
White was a powerful House figure until Republicans took charge of the body after the 2014. That relegated White and other former Democrats to lesser positions of power. For example, White could no longer rule House finances or serve as Majority Leader.
Anecdotally, White was the leading candidate for House Speaker when word broke of financial troubles at the Bank of Mingo, where he was Chairman of the Board. His Speaker campaign quickly fizzled.
White says he will work for economic development in Southern West Virginia. He was not specific. A telephone call to him had not been returned at press time.