by Ron Gregory
The 2016 election will surely mark the date of the biggest example of a crybaby, sniveling candidate who simply refuses to abide by the will of the voters.
Yes, while Democrat Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was magnanimous in her concession speech and has behaved admirably ever since, one candidate sits in the corner of his play room, clutches his Barbie doll and reels with pain and sorrow.
That man is, of course, appointed Logan Circuit Judge Douglas Witten. Witten, it is safe to say, has given bad losers a worse name. Beside Witten, my old coaching hero, Buddy Ryan, looked like a prince of graciousness. How could one equal Witten’s high-standing view of himself? It is an ego run amok when there is really no reason for an ego at all. What, after all, has the gray-haired Witten ever done to deserve hero worship from anyone? Yet, if one watched him prance around a picnic ground during the primary election or saw him on the bench, you’d think John Marshall himself had been resurrected.
And it’s apparently no act. Witten evidently thinks as highly of himself as he appears. He is not about to accept the verdict of voters that he should not continue in the position he was appointed to by lame duck Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. No matter how many unbiased groups look at it, Witten believes he had to be snookered to lose.
As I have said before, anybody appearing before this crazed judge should ask him to recuse himself based on his political shenanigans. He could not possibly be unbiased based on his handling of his own election campaign. It is a campaign in which he openly questioned the Christian principles of his opponent, Joshua Butcher, lecturing Butcher on making judgments relative to his (Witten’) Christian credentials. Then, Witten immediately taped a set of radio commercials extolling his own Christian actions.
That wasn’t enough, though. Witten lost fair and square in the May election. He immediately cried foul, blaming “errors” in three precincts for his defeat. He then made the absurd (even for him) argument that h (Witten) was politically aligned with State Senator Art Kirkendoll. Since Kirekendoll was running in the same election, a clear-thinking Witten somehow surmised that a physical attack of Kirkendoll’s opponent days before the election cost him (Witten) his seat. Talk about backlash. Or whiplash. Or whatever affected Witten’s brain functions.
By the time a recount was held, giving Butcher a 59-vote win, Witten and his lawyer Harvey Peyton appeared to have dropped the absurd fight incident as part of their challenge. Instead, they hung their hat on such trivial alleged violations as Butcher’s wife MAYBE holding a Butcher campaign sign within 300 feet of a polling place. Evidence introduced showed there was mass confusion about exactly where the 300-foot line for non-campaigning existed. In retrospect, I suspect both Judge-elect and Mrs. Butcher wished she had stayed further from the polls but that minor possible error is not enough to disenfranchise voters.
Finally, a three-man panel (one of whom was Witten’s own campaign treasurer) ruled against him. Now, he is appealing that decision to the state Supreme Court. It is obvious Witten doesn’t give a hang how much time and expenditure he costs the taxpayers who voted him out of office.
If see Judge Witten, offer him a crying towel. He needs one.
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Those on the national scene who suddenly comprehend the horror of the electoral college might not have been so upset if their candidate, Hillary Clinton, had won.
I and this newspaper supported Donald Trump for the change he promised to bring to this country. We still do. We hope he will do well. If he can perform close to the level of President Barack Obama, we should all be proud.
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Two years ago, when the Lincoln County powers-that-be decided I had become sufficiently dangerous to their good-ole-boy operations that I had to go, House of Delegates candidate Michel Moffatt became a lightning rod for finding ways to depose me as a member of the Lincoln Public Service District. At every turn, Moffatt’s fingers and smiling face were attached to erroneous allegations and tons of misinformation.
Moffatt never was — and never will be — a West Virginian. He is one of those about whom Charleston resident used to feature bumper stickers that said, “I don’t care how you did it up North.” Suffice it to say, Moffatt was always much smarter than any of his constituents and he let them know it. He knew the value of Right to Work in the southern coalfields. He knew the removal of a prevailing wage provision would greatly benefit working men and women.
Moffatt, to be sure, never met anyone who knew more –or as much — as he dd about any given subject. When they handed out expertise, he got it by the truckload.
I told many friends two years ago that Moffatt would never be re-elected to the House of Delegates. He wasn’t. Two good men, endorsed by me and this paper, will now serve: Jeff Eldridge and Zack Maynard. They are both smart and want to do good for their constituents. Hopefully, Moffatt will slink back where he came from but I am sharp enough to know some zealously right-wing organization will likely find him a job — the first one he may have ever had.
God said, “vengeance is mine; I will repay.” I’ve opined here before that the best one can hope for is to see God administer his vengeance. I am glad I got to see it — and continue to see it each day — as far as Moffatt is concerned.
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I never liked Moffatt from the first time I heard that overwhelming Yankee accent. But the same is not true of Boone County Republican Joshua Nelson. There are qualities Nelson has that I like and admire.
I do think, however, that like Richard Ojeda, he takes his military service as much too demanding of servitude on the part of everyone else. Likewise, I think Nelson conspired to unseat a number of outstanding public servants at the courthouse. But,like Moffatt, God got the revenge when Nelson lost for County Commissioner.
I detest the way both Ojeda and Nelson throw their military training around with threats of physical harm to others. As soldiers, they allegedly died to protect the rights of others. They should not forget that part of their mission.
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Voters do great things. But they do occasionally make mistakes.
Those interested in the good of Mingo County have done a lot during the past two years to clear out the memory of the corrupt Team Mingo. But they have made mistakes as well.
The West Virginia Legislature is clearly a fraternity where the oldest members are treated with reverence. Thus, it is a mistake when senior members are removed without cause. Putnam County has suffered financially every day since voters, in their infinite wisdom, chose to replace Senate Finance Chair Oshel Craigo with Lisa Smith. Projects and funds that flew to Putnam no longer do so.
Two years ago, Mingo voters are their compatriots decided to dump long-time State Senator H. Truman Chafin for an untried, untested Wayne County Republican. Look at the Mingo projects that have lost funding since then. Chafin was an instant meal ticket for many Mingo projects. Maynard can barely get lunch in the capitol cafeteria with a ten dollar bill.
Now, voters have turned Delegate Phyllis White out to pasture. Although she had only been there a short time personally,her husband, Harry Keith, is a House institution. As a former Finance Chair, H.K. White wielded tremendous influence in the state;s budget process.
Two years from now, perhaps, Mingo Countians will get a chance to return Chafin and White to the legislature. It is an opportunity they should not let pass them by while they suffer for the next two years.
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Fortunes of the Manchin family may be called into question in recent times. Senator Joe Manchin’s son lost a mayor election a couple of years ago and now, cousin Tim Manchin has lost his seat in the state House of Delegates. Many were already speculating that Joe Manchin might be a vulnerable candidate for re-election in 2018. These results seem to confirm that.
With Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey believing he is the heir apparent to take on Manchin in two years and with Second District GOP Congressman Alex Mooney considering a run himself, Manchin may hear vivid footsteps for the first time since Charlotte Pritt administered his only electoral defeat in a gubernatorial primary.
I honestly had thought Manchin was unbeatable. Now, I’m not at all sure.
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Your comments, story ideas, gossip and further methods Judge Witten can use to thwart the will of the voters are all welcome. Use my email listed or call 304-533-5185