Gregory’s Web for August 23, 2020
by Ron Gregory
When something’s wrong, it’s wrong.
For months now, many of us who believe in a constitutional republic have been urging the state legislature to call itself into special session to do its job of overseeing the Covid-19 crisis.
For political reasons, even normally constitutionalist Republican State Senators refuse to call such a session. Some say Governor Jim Justice is doing such a great job on his own, there’s no need for supervision. Perhaps, based on that, the legislature should permanently disband. Governors can then just continue to rule by executive orders.
There’s no need to convene, perhaps, except for the constitution they took an oath to uphold. It says all funds will be allocated by the legislature. The starry-eyed Republicans regularly campaign on being strict adherents to this same constitution. Thus, not calling an extraordinary session is hypocritical if nothing else.
Many of those refusing to sign are friends of mine. I agree with most of the holdouts on issues that confront the state But they are defying the very constitution they claim to love and, as noted, they are simply wrong.
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Another politician committed a huge error in judgment last week. The evidence is clear and it’s impossible to undo the harm created.
Andrew Robinson is a liberal Democrat member of the House of Delegates. His father, Nelson Robinson, and I go back with at least 40 years of political friendship. I take no pleasure in calling out the injustice done by Andrew last week. Sometimes my principles require me to comment on things I’d just as soon leave alone.
Andrew Robinson is giving up his seat in the House as he runs instead for a District 17 State Senate seat. Incumbent Democrat State Senator Corey Palumbo is retiring, leaving an opening. Republican Delegate Eric Nelson is Robinson’s opponent.
Last Sunday, Robinson’s campaign — not him personally — ran a tribute to another retiring public servant, Republican Kanawha County Commissioner Henry “Hoppy” Shores and his wife, Bronson. The expensive ad ran on the front page of the Sunday (Charleston) Gazette-Mail.
Hoppy Shores is a legendary Kanawha athlete and leader. There’s no dispute that he and his wife have served the public well for decades. Personally, he’d make my top five list of best all-time public servants. Bronson Shores is a rare jewel; with a fantastic heart and commitment to others.
But the Robinson ad, rather than really conveying all that, is an affront to common decency. Making political hay from an iconic public servant’s retirement without his permission is … wrong, wrong, WRONG.
The Shores family is too nice to call Robinson out. But I can guarantee you that they did not approve the Robinson ad in advance of its publication. It’s safe to say, from comments by friends, that they don’t approve of It now — and they won’t approve of It on November 3. It was simply a blatant attempt to score political points by using Hoppy and Bronson Shores without any kind of permission — or common courtesy.
If there’s a beloved politician in Kanawha County, it’s Hoppy Shores. By running the ad Robinson ran, he is clearly inferring that Shores supports HIS campaign.
I am close enough to the Shores family to know that they and the Nelsons — not the Robinsons — are intertwined. Hoppy and Bronson Shores are devoted Republicans.
When Shores made his decision late last year not to seek re-election, he vowed to get directly involved in no races — not even to select his successor. I don’t need to ask him personally to know he has not, is not and will NOT endorse Robinson for Senate.
Some Robinson supporters even told me a “reverse endorsement” was in the works. I’m not sure what that term means, but they assured me Shores will now endorse Robinson over Nelson. Absolutely not true.
A couple of other Robinson supporters told me Andrew Robinson just thinks so highly of Hoppy and Bronson Shores he felt “compelled to make it known.” What pure manure, as Bess Truman taught Harry to say instead of his preferred term.
If Andrew Robinson felt that “compelled” to honor the Shores, why not wait until Hoppy’s retirement time in December and pay for it out of HIS pocket, not the campaign’s? The entire episode smacks of old-time, backhanded politics. We must call it like it is. The intent to deceive is clear.
Personally, I think we Genuine Friends of Hoppy and Bronson should demand that Robinson publicly apologize to them with an ad he pays for himself.
When it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
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The contrasts between incumbent Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner and his Democrat opponent, former SOS Natalie Tennant, were clear last week in a WVVA-TV forum.
While personal differences were apparent, the two obviously have contrasting visions when it comes to running the office as well.
Warner clearly is not totally sold on mail-in voting for example. Tennant takes the typical liberal position of mailing a ballot to everyone.
Strangely, Warner appeared more comfortable in the forum. That’s odd since Tennant made her name as a broadcast journalist.
The pair plan at least two more debates, which is good for voters.
Warner has generally done well and deserves another term.
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Excuses are good, particularly when it comes from news organizations.
Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Danny Lutz recently asked MetroNews guru Hoppy Kercheval if the network still intends to exclude him from debates because they judge he is not “newsworthy.”
Kercheval’s one word response was “yes.”
Thus, voters will be deprived of a different perspective if there is actually ever a debate with Justice and Democrat Ben Salango.
Lutz deserves to be heard; Libertarian Ericka Kolenich should be heard; let Independent Marshall Wilson debate.
Hell, much of the “news” is not “newsworthy,” so why does Kercheval rule so tightly on these debates? Ever hear of free speech and the old equal time rules?
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One state fair apparently had the wherewithal to convene during the Covid-19 hideout.
The Delaware State Fair, coincidentally in former Vice President Joe Biden’s home “slave” state (his description; not mine), reported tremendous success. They practiced all Covid requirements and things went well.
Good for them.
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Speaking of getting together a crowd, it was impressive when about 60 people came to Republican State Senate candidate Rupie Phillips’ meet and greet at the Logan Country Club last week.
Held outside, Covid-19 protocol was followed. Meanwhile, Phillips who is campaigning for the seat held by retiring Democrat Paul Hardesty, raised $15,000. That’s a good hunk of change in a viral epidemic.
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Phillips is running in District Seven, a once solidly Democrat district that is now so strongly Republican that some have told Democrat candidate Ralph Rodighiero he should endorse Republican President Donald Trump and Justice to stand a shot at beating Phillips.
“Ralph’s so busy hiding from (Democrat Governor candidate Ben) Salango, he doesn’t have any place to campaign for himself,” one Logan politico observed.
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Sadly, we note the passing of Sallie Pat Tackett, the wife of General Alan Tackett.
Seldom did one see General Tackett at an event without his wife at his side. In her own right, Sallie Pat dedicated herself to helping the less fortunate. She was especially dedicated to the children of the Upper Kanawha Valley. Professionally, she had an exemplary teaching career.
I’m sure the next time I greet General Tackett, some of the radiance will be gone from his eyes. We are all the better because Sallie Pat passed this way and all diminished now that she’s gone.
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Despite premature announcements to the contrary, rapper Kanye West will not appear on the West Virginia presidential ballot.
The West campaign presented over 15,000 signatures to the Secretary of State office prior to the August 3 deadline. Only 7,144 valid signatures from registered voters were required.
Warner reported that 13,865 names were legible. His staff found 7,482 of those were invalid, leaving only 6,383 legitimate signatures.
With West out of the way, it’s likely Trump will win the state. That’s known as an understatement, folks.
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Independent write-in gubernatorial candidate S. Marshall Wilson is continuing his fight for ballot access to the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court in Richmond this week.
If the court rules in favor of Wilson, it might give West a shot at gathering more names as well.
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Cabell County’s Republican Executive Committee is holding a grand opening of party headquarters beside Jim’s Steak and Spaghetti House tomorrow (Monday) evening in Huntington.
Here’s hoping, in 2020, the committee decides to support the entire GOP ticket rather than being selective as they were in 2018.
Party committees function only to promote party candidates. It is not their prerogative to endorse candidates in the primary but they should back all the party candidates in the general.
In 2018, Republican voters selected Vera Miller as one of their candidates for House of Delegates, District 16. The committee hierarchy didn’t consider her “conservative” enough. They preferred to sit back and watch a liberal Democrat win one of the seats rather than Miller.
Did I mention “wrong” before? That was wrong.
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Now, we move on to our preliminary look at House of Delegates races.
In District 31, Republican Chris Toney is the incumbent. He won a relatively close primary but has no general election opponent.
District 32 is represented by Republicans Kayla Kessinger and Tom Fast along with Democrat Margaret Staggers.
Austin Haynes joins the two GOP incumbents on that side of the ballot. Staggers is grouped with Mark Hurt and Selina Vickers as the Democrat trio.
Everyone knows I’m prejudiced toward Delegate/Doctor Staggers and the entire Staggers family. I certainly hope and believe she’ll be returned to office. My expectation is that the two Republican incumbents will join her.
Staggers recently recovered from Covid-19 and was released to resume normal activities. The well wishes of thousands were answered with her courage and perseverance. You are loved, Doctor.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, a good and noble public servant, represents the 33d District.
The Republican leader has been rewarded with two terms by Clay Countians. He’s heavily favored to win over Democrat Larry Cottrell. At least Hanshaw doesn’t have to defeat his predecessor, David Walker, a third straight time.
Braxton County Democrat Brent Boggs represents District 34. He has no GOP opponent.
In the 35th, Democrats Doug Skaff and Andrew Byrd with Republicans Moore Capito and Nelson are the current representatives. As noted earlier, Nelson is trying to move up to the State Senate.
That leaves Skaff, Kayla Young, Kathy Ferguson and Rusty Williams as the Democrat candidates. Byrd did not file to seek a fourth term.
Capito leads the Republican ticket as the sole incumbent with Nelson’s exit. The other three candidates are Chris Stansbury, Larry Pack and Trevor Morris.
Depending on how big Trump’s margin is in Kanawha County, Republicans will either win two or three of these seats. I predict Capito and Pack as winners. If the GOP is rolling big-time, Stansbury will claim a seat.
Skaff will lead the ticket to claim one spot. If Democrats take two, Ferguson has a shot.
Believe it or not … more next time.
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear his political commentary each Monday at 7 a.m. on the Tom Roten Morning Show on NewsRadio 800, WVHU, Huntington.