Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: West Virginia State Executive Officials

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October 31, 2012

By Jennifer Springer

Portal:State Executive Officials

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: Six state executive positions are up for election this year in the state of West Virginia.

Voters will make their choice for the following positions on November 6:


[edit]

 Candidates for governor 


See also: West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2012

Democratic Party Earl Ray Tomblin Incumbent
Republican Party Bill Maloney
Libertarian Party David Moran
Independent Barbara Lynn Spurlock (Write-in)
Independent Frankie Rocchetti (Write-in)
Independent Phil Hudok (Write-in)
Green Party#Mountain Party Jesse Johnson (Mountain Party)

Incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin won a special election in October 2011 to fill the remainder of Joe Manchin's unexpired term when Manchin won election to the U.S. Senate. This year, Tomblin is running for election to a four-year term of his own.

In the May 8th primary election, he faced a familiar field: all four candidates in the race were also candidates in 2011. In the primary election, both Tomblin and Bill Maloney (R) won their respective primaries and will face off in the November 6th general election.[1]
This election will be a rematch between Tomblin and Maloney, along with several third-party and write-in candidates, seeking a full four-year term.[2]
Tomblin is favored, but Republican nominee Bill Maloney and the RGA have tried to link the incumbent to President Obama and the national Democratic party. Mitt Romney is polling comfortably in front in the state.[3]

Heading into the general election, the major candidates spent approximately $1.8 million on campaign spending between September 24, 2012 and October 21, 2012.[4]
Republican candidate Bill Maloney accounted for $1 million of that spending, with most of Maloney's money going toward toward TV ads.[4] Incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin spent $780,619 during the reporting period but reported raising more than $501,000, with just over half that coming from fundraising events.[4]Maloney raised just $131,000 during the same time period, and also loaned his campaign another $750,000, bringing his self-funding total to $1 million.[4]
Tomblin reported a $330,000 cash on hand two weeks prior to the election, while Maloney had just under $90,000 cash on hand balance.[4]

 Candidates for attorney general 


See also: West Virginia attorney general election, 2012

Democratic Party Darrell McGraw:McGraw was first elected in 1992
Republican Party Patrick Morrisey

Incumbent Darrell McGraw(D) has been likened to a cat on election day: "He always seems to lands on his feet."[5] After prevailing in the past two general election races -- his fourth and fifth for attorney general -- by less than one percentage point apiece, the seemingly indomitable West Virginian is seeking a sixth consecutive term in office this year. McGraw will face off against newcomer Patrick Morrisey(R) to defend the seat he has occupied since 1992.
Morrisey's central platform is supporting the multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act;[5] Indeed, the candidate told a conservative press source in June that "I really didn't intend to run for anything this year, but then [McGraw] would not join the other state attorneys general who were suing over Obamacare."[6]
Morrisey moved to West Virginia in 2006 but retained employment at a firm in Washington D.C. where he specializes in heath care and federal regulatory cases. He has not practiced law in West Virginia or represented any West Virginian clients. Morrisey was admitted to the state bar four days before filing to run for the job of the state's top prosecutor, amid declarations about bringing a "fresh face" to the office.[7]
McGraw was ranked fifth worst out of 50 Attorneys General in the nation by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2010.[8] Hans Bader, who authored the report, defended McGraw's poor rating, writing, "Darrell McGraw, attorney general of West Virginia since January 1993, has violated the most basic duty of his office, to defend the state in court."[9]
This controversial disparity between the candidates' backgrounds is a fixture of their respective campaigns: McGraw says Morrisey is too fresh[7], and Morrisey says McGraw is too old[10].
During a meeting with a Charleston newspaper editorial board in September, the two candidates took turns firing digs at each other.[11]Morrisey accused McGraw of setting aside part of the $2 billion his office has brought in from consumer protection lawsuits "for the private piggybank of the office of the attorney general."[11]
McGraw countered that Morrisey, a former congressional staffer who lives in the eastern panhandle and is now a Washington, D. C. lobbyist, was not licensed to even practice law in West Virginia until several days before he filed to run for attorney general in this election.[11]
In September, Twitter shut down accounts set up in the names of Darrell McGraw and Walt Helmick after Democratic party officials complained they were fakes.[12] Twitter also suspended at least three other accounts operated by West VirginiaRepublicans.[12] Derek Scarbro, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said most of the messages posted on Twitter "were very derogatory."[12]

 Candidates for Secretary of State 
See also: West Virginia secretary of state election, 2012

Democratic Party Natalie Tennant Incumbent
Republican Party Brian Savilla

Republican Brian Savilla, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates since 2010, filed to run in this year's election for West Virginia secretary of state on January 26. Two weeks earlier, incumbent Secretary Natalie Tennant (D) declared her bid for re-election.

Tennant and Savilla ran unopposed in their respective parties' primary elections on May 8th and will face each other in the general election.

In his bid to defeat incumbent Tennant Savilla has said, if he's elected, he'll lead efforts to change the law so every voter will have to show photo identification to cast a ballot.[13] Tennant, though, says she thinks West Virginia's current voter requirements are adequate.[13] "We have that you have to show identification when you register to vote. If you do it by mail, you have to show it the first time you vote. You show identification every time you go and state your address and sign your signature." For some, Tennant says, getting a photo ID may be too expensive or too difficult.[13]

In a series of columns written by candidates for the Herald Dispatch Savilla laid out his complaints with incumbent Tennant and changes he plans to make if re-elected, citing strengthening election process as a priority.[14]

 Candidates for Treasurer 
See also: West Virginia down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Democratic Party John Perdue Incumbent
Republican Party Mike Hall

The West Virginia Treasurer election will be held on November 6, 2012. The primary took place on May 8, 2012. Incumbent John Perdue (D) is seeking re-election.

State senator Mike Hall (R) who is trying to defeat incumbent John Perdue in the general election, had the largest campaign fund of four statewide Republican candidates prior to the September 28 deadline for the first report.[15]

Hall was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1994 and moved to the Senate in 2006 where he currently serves as the Senate Minority Leader.[16]

 Candidates for state auditor 


See also: West Virginia down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Democratic Party Glen Gainer Incumbent
Republican Party Larry V. Faircloth
Independent John Klayton Miller (Write-in)
The West Virginia State Auditor election will be held on November 6, 2012. The primary took place on May 8, 2012. Incumbent Glen Gainer (D) is seeking re-election.
West Virginia's constitution mandates the election of an auditor every four years to oversee government check-writing.[17] Both men running for state Auditor hope to keep the state up-to-date with the latest technologies to help make government as transparent and accountable as possible.[18] "That's what keeps the state honest, is transparency," incumbent Glen Gainer (D) said. "Whoever holds that office ought to be totally on top of the technology that's in place and out there today," Republican nominee Larry Faircloth commented.[18]

Faircloth, a candidate in the 2011 special Republican gubernatorial primary, said he decided to get into the race this year because no one was stepping up to oppose Gainer.[18] "I think all offices on the ballot should be challenged. I think all too often we have people run for office because they've not been challenged. I believe voters should have a choice," he said.[18]

 Candidates for commissioner of agriculture 


See also: West Virginia down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Democratic Party Walt Helmick
Republican Party Kent Leonhardt
Independent Betty Quintana (Write-in)
Independent Carl Waggoner (Write-in)
The West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture election will be held on November 6, 2012. The primary took place on May 8, 2012. Incumbent Gus Douglass (D) did not seek re-election. He served in the position since 1992 and previously from 1964-1988.
State senatorWalt Helmick (D) came under fire in the primary after taking critique that he doesn't qualify to run for the position. State code requires the commissioner of agriculture to be a working farmer. While Helmick argued that his water bottling company qualified him, while opponents disagreed.[19] In addition to his water bottling company, Helmick owns a 200-acre farm and is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.[19]
In March 2012 Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom ruled Helmick could stay on the ballot after candidate Joe Starcher challenged Helmick's candidacy.[19]
After Republican Mike Teets dropped out of the race prior to the primary, the Republican party replaced him with Kent Leonhardt. Leonhardt is a retired U.S. Marine and operates a once-abandoned farm with his wife.[19]
In September, Twitter shut down accounts set up in the names of Darrell McGraw and state senatorWalt Helmick after Democratic party officials complained they were fakes.[12] Twitter also suspended at least three other accounts operated by West VirginiaRepublicans.[12] Derek Scarbro, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said most of the messages posted on Twitter "were very derogatory."[12]

See also

West Virginia

References

Ballotpedia News
  1. WDTV.com, "Tomblin, Maloney to face off again in November," May 8, 2012
  2. Times News, "Clashing views mark governor’s race rematch in West Virginia" accessed October 30, 2012
  3. Huffington Post, " 2012 Governors' Races: Republicans Poised For Gains" accessed October 30, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The State Journal, "Another $1.8M poured into WV governor's race" accessed October 30, 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 West Virginia Metro News, "Hoppy's Commentary for Friday," April 20, 2012
  6. Human Events, "West Virginia attorney general candidate seeks to reverse Obama's 'War on Coal,'" June 14, 2012
  7. 7.0 7.1 Charleston Daily Mail, "AG candidate has never practiced law in W. Va," January 31, 2012
  8. Competitive Enterprise Institute, "The Nation's Worst Attorneys General," July 2010
  9. West Virginia Watchdog, "McGraw named 5th worst AG," July 12, 2010
  10. Charleston Daily Mail, "Lawyer files to run against McGraw," January 30, 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Journal News, "Gubernatorial campaign turns rough" accessed October 30, 2012
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Journal News, "Gubernatorial campaign turns rough" accessed October 30, 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 WV Metro News, " She's Running For Re-election While Running An Election" accessed October 30, 2012
  14. Herald Dispatch, "Brian Savilla: Strengthening election process is a priority" accessed October 30, 2012
  15. Journal News, "Gubernatorial campaign turns rough" accessed October 30, 2012
  16. The Intelligencer, "Mike Hall Touts Experience in Race for Treasurer’s Office" accessed October 30, 2012
  17. West Virginia Gazette, "Gainer: Auditor choice" accessed October 30, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Daily Mail, "Auditor candidates focus on accountability" accessed October 30, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 WVNS TV "WV Agriculture Commissioner Race Draws Statewide Attention" accessed October 30, 2012