Gregory’s Web brief
by Ron Gregory
State Senate President Mitch Carmichael as well as those close to Governor Jim Justice deny there’s any truth to rumors that Carmichael would become Chief of Staff if Justice is re-elected November 3.
I commented on the gossip the past Sunday but the Jackson County Senator says he and Justice have never discussed the possibility. Sources aligned with Justice have confirmed that.
The rumors are rampant since Carmichael, a Republican like Justice, lost in the GOP primary. In his comments today, Carmichael said he is not looking for a job and is “happy working for CityNet.”
Carmichael’s senate term ends in December. Until then, he will continue to serve as President in the chamber controlled by Republicans.
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Discussion of a new COS comes after sources have confirmed that the current Chief, Mike Hall plans to retire. Hall is a former Delegate and Senator from Putnam County.
Another name mentioned as a possible replacement is Eastern Panhandle Senator Craig Blair.
Several Democrat legislators have expressed the view that Blair is too right wing philosophically to foster bipartisanship between the Governor and the legislature.
Regardless of who is named to the position, many expect former “volunteer” Bray Cary to continue to effectively function as COS. Most observers say he has played the most influential role in the administration for months.
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Hall is Justice’s second Chief. He replaced former State Democrat Chairman Nick Casey when Justice converted from Democrat to Republican months after assuming office. At the time, it was reported that Justice was purging his staff of identifiable Democrats but some have remained.
The rumor mill will undoubtedly continue to turn with Justice heavily favored to win re-election in November.
Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear his political commentary at 7 a.m., each Monday on the Tom Roten Morning Show on NewsRadio 800, WVHU, Huntington.