The Racing Form..

The Gilmer Free Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Republican nominating race is a mess: a strong field, but with 10 declared candidates and a half-dozen more to come, we need a bouncer to keep order.

Rope lines separate the four categories.

Top tier

1. Jeb Bush. Solid, no sizzle. Sizzle may be in less demand than eight years ago, but his inability to separate from the pack, his recent campaign shakeup and his four-day stumble over Megyn Kelly’s “knowing what we know now” Iraq question have given even his supporters pause. Nonetheless, a bulging war chest, a fine gubernatorial record and a wide knowledge of domestic issues guarantee top-tier staying power.

Chances: 25%.

2. Scott Walker. Maintains a significant lead in Iowa and it’s more than just a Wisconsinite’s favorite-son advantage. He’s got a solid governing record, has raised respectable money and has gone almost errorless for more than a month. One caveat: His major wobble on immigration threatens his straight-shooter persona.

Chances: 25%.

3. Marco Rubio. Good launch, steady follow-up. With his fluency in foreign affairs, has benefited the most from President Barack Obama’s imploding foreign policy. Polls well, but with seven or so within the margin of error, the important question is less “Who do you support?“ than “Who could you support?“ (measuring general acceptability). Rubio leads all with 74%. The New York Times’ comical attempts to nail him on driving (four citations in 18 years – “Arrest that man!“) and financial profligacy (a small family fishing boat characterized as a “luxury speedboat”) only confirm how much the Democrats fear his prospects.

Chances: 35%.

Polls well, but can’t win

4. Rand Paul. Fought a principled, if hyperbolic, fight on metadata collection and privacy rights, but his ambivalent national-security posture alienates many in the GOP base. Consistently ranks among the leaders in the polls and is the most successful libertarian ever, but libertarianism is still far from becoming a governing or majority persuasion. High floor, low ceiling.

5. Ben Carson. Ditto. Broadly popular, but major rookie problems. His national finance chairman, deputy campaign manager and general counsel have all resigned within the past month. And while Obama showed that rookies can win, we haven’t elected a nonpolitician since 1952 – and that guy won World War II.
Second tier, with a chance to jump

6. Ted Cruz. Candidate on the cusp. Has the best chance to join the leaders. Only 16% “would never vote for.“ His claimed $40 million raised (campaign plus super PACs) suggests a serious presence throughout the early contests at least.

Chances: 5%.

7. John Kasich. My personal long shot wild card. Jack Kemp on steroids, a bleeding-heart conservative, articulate and voluble, but somewhat less disciplined than Kemp. Which can be a problem. It’s entertaining when he says, “I’m not going to have Bush money; Wells Fargo doesn’t have Bush money,“ but not when implying that if your policies don’t match his on the Kasich compassion index, you have no heart.

Chances: 3%.

8. Carly Fiorina. Has proved strong and steady on the campaign trail. The question is: Can you reach enough of Iowa and New Hampshire with just a car and a clipboard? To jump, she needs to get into the debates. But to get into the debates, she needs to jump (to the top 10 in the polls). Catch-22.

Chances: 2%.

Second tier, in need of a miracle

9. Rick Perry. Energetic launch. Spoke well, looked good. He’s learned that you don’t run for president right after back surgery and that you need an answer to “Why are you running?“ His 2011 statement that his wife said to him “get out of your comfort zone” (as governor) was the worst since Teddy Kennedy had none at all in 1979. After four years of studying and prepping, Perry looks ready. Achilles’ heel: After his 2011 “oops” moment, he is on 24-hour gaffe watch.

10. Chris Christie. Damaged by Bridgegate, boxed out (ideologically) by Bush. Shows guts in openly advocating entitlement reform. It’s a gamble because that’s what voters say they want, but rarely vote for.

11. Mike Huckabee. A dead-set-against-entitlement-reform populist. Major social conservative appeal, but given the leftward ratcheting of the nation’s cultural center, it may be less of an asset, even in the GOP primaries, than in 2008.

Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, all eminently likable and highly qualified, but yet to make their move. If they do, The Racing Form will be there.

2015 Glenville Election Results

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville Mayor

      1.  Denis Fitzpatrick (incumbent) — 42
      2.  Jess McVaney — 1
      3.  Gary Collins — 1
      4.  Carson Yeager — 1

Glenville Recorder

      1.  Debra L. Starcher-Johnson — 49

Glenville Council Ward 1

      1.  Vonda P. Montgomery – 10

Glenville Council Ward 2

      1.  Kevin Wiant— 3

Glenville Council Ward 3

      1.  Anna Jean Rogucki — 11

      2.  Clarence Williamson — 3

Glenville Council Ward 4

      1.  Tammy Stewart Hufman — 7

Glenville Council Ward 5

      1.  Gina Hoard Taylor — 14

The Charter Amendment changing terms for city office from two to four years:

      FOR — 39
      AGAINST — 12

2015 Weston Election Results

The Gilmer Free Press

Weston Mayor
(vote for one)

  1. Julia Spelsburg (incumbent) — 350
  2. Kim Harrison — 338

Weston Council Ward 1 (voting at Lewis EMS Building)

  1. Jenh W. Wyllie — 118
  2. Vicki Kerrigan — 35
  3. Nancy Lipps — 28
  4. Louis G. Craig Jr. — 5

Weston Council Ward 2 (voting at Broad Street Church)

  1. Eric Dever — 86
  2. Terry Cogar (incumbent) — 39
  3. John Bell — 8

Weston Council Ward 3 (voting at Real Life Church)

  1. Richard “Mike” Flanigan — 76
  2. Roger Gaines (incumbent) — 51
  3. Rebecca “Beckey” Baldwin — 29
  4. W.M. Woofter — 7

Weston Council Ward 4 (voting at Weston Fire Department)

  1. Justin Roy — 134
  2. David Blake (incumbent) — 60

2015 Burnsville Election Results

The Gilmer Free Press

Burnsville Mayor

(vote for one)

  1. Paul W. Bragg — 72
  2. Donna Darlene Summers — 37

Burnsville Recorder

(vote for not more than one)

  1. Duane Mattson — 62
  2. Marsha E. Dean — 45

Burnsville City Council

(vote for not more than five)

  1. Joe Sprouse — 81
  2. Johnnie Verton — 66

  3. Ann Mattson — 58

  4. Missy Conrad — 55

  5. Gary Crutchfield — 52

  6. Chris S. Dean — 50
  7. Anita B. Moore — 46
  8. Jimmy L. Henegar, Jr. — 43
  9. Coleden R. Belknap — 19

G-Comm™: Hoppy’s Commentary - GOP Governor’s Race Taking Shape


The clouded picture of the Republican field in the 2016 West Virginia Governor’s race is now coming more into focus.

A significant development occurred over the weekend when state Senate President Bill Cole spoke separately by phone with 1st District Congressman David McKinley and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, telling them he plans to announce today he’s entering the race.

Cole will make his announcements this morning during an appearance on Metronews Talkline, at his car dealership in Bluefield, and later in the day at the State Capitol.

McKinley wanted badly to run for Governor, but he got heavy pressure from a number of fellow Republicans to remain in Congress.  Also, McKinley is neck-deep in the fight against the Obama administration and the EPA over the loss of coal jobs and he believes he can be more effective in Washington than Charleston.

The three-term Representative is a heavy favorite to win re-election next year.

Morrisey, however, is not yet willing to concede to Cole.  The Attorney General told me yesterday that he’s still “seriously considering” running for Governor.  Morrisey points out that he’s the most conservative of the three, and that provides him with what he believes is a pathway to victory in a conservative state.

Morrisey says that Cole’s announcement today will not prompt him to rush his own decision about 2016.

Meanwhile, Cole’s plan to run for Governor creates a secondary problem for the GOP: who will run for the seat now held by the Senate President?  Cole would have been a heavy favorite to win a second four-year term in 2016, but now that seat in the 6th District (all of Mercer and portions of McDowell, Mingo and Wayne counties) will be open.

Republican leaders, aware that Cole was likely going to enter the Governor’s race, have already started their recruiting efforts.  All three Mercer County Delegates (John Shott, Marty Gearheart and Joe Ellington) are Republican so one of them may try for the upper chamber.

One Republican leader told me that Shott “would be in the driver’s seat” if he wanted to run, but Shott currently holds a powerful position in the House as Judiciary Committee Chairman.

Democrats may see Cole’s departure as a chance to regain a seat in the 6th they lost in 2014 when Wayne County Republican Mark Maynard upset long-time Mingo County Democratic Senator Truman Chafin. Princeton attorney Rocky Seay has already filed to run and Chafin says he’s considering running again.

Currently, Republicans hold a narrow 18-16 advantage in the Senate, with 17 seats up for election in 2016.

In the Governor’s race on the Democratic side, the two candidates so far are Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice.

Election Results for Clarksburg, Lumberport, Salem and West Union

The Gilmer Free Press

Results from municipal elections around West Virginia on Tuesday, June 02, 2015:

Clarksburg City Council

(vote for not more than three)

1. Cathy Goings (incumbent) — 1064 (17.1%) 

2. Gary R. Bowden (incumbent) — 968 (15.6%)

3. Chad E. Sigmon — 889 (14.3%)

4. Justine Scott Marino — 603 (9.7%)

5. Dan Thompson — 560 (9.0%)

6. Margaret Ann Bailey (incumbent) — 508 (8.2%)

7. Curtis W. Edwards — 505 (8.1%)

8. Martin Shaffer — 493 (7.9%)

9. “Tuna” Mateen Abdul-Aziz — 401 (6.4%)

10. Nathanael Herrod — 206 (3.3%)

11. Shaun M. Jedju — 23 (0.4%)


Clarksburg Water Board

(vote for not more than one)

1. Jon Calvert — 913 (40.5%)

2. R. Allen Gorrell — 817 (36.2%)

3. Frank F. Robinette — 524 (23.2%)

Total Voters: 2419 out of 10,312 (23.5%)


West Union Mayoral Election
(vote for one)

1. Joseph R. Thorpe (incumbent) — 57

2. Rockford A. Zickefoose — 27

3. Anthony J. Hayhurst — 5


West Union Recorder

(vote for one)

1. Betty Roxanne Adams — 63


West Union City Council

(vote for not more than five)

1. Stephen Ash — 70

2. James Lowell McAfee (incumbent) — 67

3. James D. Friend — 51

4. Tammy Porter — 41

5. Deborah Foreman (incumbent) — 40

6. Ersa L. Skjerli — 23

7. Mark L. Younkin — 22

8. Ralph E. Washington — 20

9. Michael D. Amos (incumbent) — 19


Lumberport Mayoral Election

(vote for one)

1. Justin Snyder — 102

2. Thomas C. Exline (incumbent) — 73


Lumberport Recorder

(vote for one)

1. Sherry Exline (incumbent) — 85


Lumberport City Council

(vote for not more than five)

1. Linda Carnes — 111

2. Johnny Raven (incumbent) — 106

3. Crystal Wright Gould — 77

4. Thomas Kelly Exline — 71

5. David Jr. Markley (incumbent) — 46


Salem City Council Election 1st Ward (vote for one)

1. Phyllis Plaugher (incumbent) — 23

2. Shawnette Stout — 21


2nd Ward (vote for one)

1. John Grumpy Sinnett — 24

2. Robert (Bobby) Knight (incumbent) — 5


3rd Ward (vote for one)

1. Valerie L. Luzader (incumbent) — 22

2. Kelly Greynolds — 18

WV Bill Banning ‘Trinkets’ Goes Into Effect

The Gilmer Free Press

A bill that bans the use of “trinkets” for public officials seeking election in WV goes into effect May 28.

House Bill 2457, sponsored by Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, was meant to prohibit the use of the name or likeness of elected or appointed officials on publicly owned vehicles, and passed in the WV House by a vote of 99-0.

The West Virginia Ethics Commission discussed the legislative rule for the bill in April at a regular meeting.

The legislation originating in the House of Delegates passed both chambers unanimously and was signed by the Governor on March 14.

For more than 10 years, Sobonya sponsored the bill, but until this year, her efforts were stalled.

“I want to thank (House) Speaker Tim Armstead and House Judiciary Chairman John Shott for moving this good government initiative forward and I am pleased it was ultimately signed by the Governor,” Sobonya said in a news release.

Sobonya said she hopes to finally put an end to the “unethical practice of shameless self-promotion on the public dime.”

Definitions in the bill say a public official is prohibited from using public funds to “distribute certain advertising materials bearing his or her name or likeness; prohibiting a public official from using public funds or public employees for entertainment purposes within forty-five days of a primary, general, or special election in which the public official is a candidate.”

According to the rule, advertising for purposes of West Virginia code ban “any form of publication or media communication intended for general dissemination to the public that has the primary intent or effect of promoting a public official.”

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