3rd District is closest among WV races

July 14, 2018

Election cycles seem to get longer and longer in this age of instant news and social media gossip. There was a time when politicians figured the electorate would get worn out of politicking, so they didn’t start their general election campaigns until Labor Day.

It’s safe to say that if a candidate in 2018 waited that long, he or she would be left in the dust of also-rans. Is there any doubt this year’s campaign for U.S. Senate began at least a year ago? Legislative candidates were likewise lining up support in 2017.

I note the early arrival of political seasons to point out that literally dozens of Carol Miller for Congress supporters have peppered me with questions for months now. “What is Carol doing?” they ask. “Where has she been? Is (Richard) Ojeda going to beat her by outworking her?”

The answers are that she has been working diligently since she filed in January. She also devoted the time necessary to be a well-informed state legislator and handled her Christian and mother/wife duties as well.

In answer to another often-asked question, no, she will never be as flashy as her opponent. As I mentioned months ago, she quietly rose through the ranks in the legislature. She does not grandstand.

National political organizations see Miller winning the 3rd District seat in November. Cook Political Report, by no means a Republican mouthpiece, still lists it as “leans Republican” after all the press Democrat Ojeda has managed to cultivate.

Miller was definitely out and about on July 4, attending the Independence Day activities at Alderson and speaking at a Huntington church that evening.

I explained earlier that the geography of the district favors someone from Huntington holding the seat. Population-wise, Cabell is the largest part of the 3rd District. Then comes Bluefield and Beckley, both of which are becoming GOP strongholds. This is not your father’s 3rd District. It is not a place where having the surname “Kee” guarantees election. The times, they are a-changin’.

Cook ranks the First and Second districts, where Republican incumbents David McKinley and Alex Mooney hold forth, as so solidly GOP their opponents have no hope whatsoever. In the third, I will still not rule Ojeda out. He can fire up a crowd, invoke sincere dedication to his causes and perform as the biggest “outsider” to ever be “inside” politics. He is formidable and a Miller win should not be taken for granted.

Although the hullabaloo about Gov. Jim Justice not living in the governor’s mansion appears to have died down for the time being, residency is always an interesting political subject.

Basically, it seems courts generally hold that one’s residence is wherever he or she says it is. When the issue of residency has been raised regarding legislators, county commissioners and school board members, the ultimate determination is usually that the place of residence is where the officeholder says it is.

I doubt that Justice would make the argument that the mansion is his residence, but I do believe he can insist that requiring such residence is archaic at best. When West Virginia’s constitution was written, they wanted to force the governor to live in the mansion. If they hadn’t, who knows how many would have left for a vacation “back home” in Ohio County and never returned. It’s much harder for a governor to just disappear today.

One would think West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, would eventually vote for President Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. There is no way, politically, that Manchin can stand for all the Trump power to be turned against him in his re-election bid. The tough part for Manchin is that he likely could have already cemented little or no opposition from the president if he had just voted for the Trump budget. The biggest fact in all of that was that Manchin voted “no” when the budget was going to pass anyway. His vote meant nothing in actuality but it meant a great deal to an egotistical president.

An egotistical president who I continue to support, by the way.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.

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