President Joe Biden talks a lot about it and then seems determined to divide us as never before.
Closer to home, political party executive committees are supposed to promote party unity. If that’s a goal, Acting Republican State Chair Roman Stauffer misses the mark by miles.
Stauffer, whose immediate claim to fame is that he “managed” Governor Jim Justice’s re-election campaign, took only a few days in his new job to thumb his nose at the law, disenfranchise Delegate District 19 voters and start a war with the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee.
A pretty good two weeks work if your intent is destruction of the party.
Stauffer apparently couldn’t stand the fact that Wayne Chair Jeff Maynard actually followed state law without consulting the omnipotent state leader. No self-respecting GOP state chair would take that lying down, I suppose.
Keep in mind that this is the same state executive committee whose previous chair arbitrarily removed the duly-elected Wood County chair and installed her puppet in his place.
The Wood County’s chair’s crime? Rob Cornelius didn’t bow and kiss the feet of the state chair. He actually had the nerve to criticize Melody Potter. His case for reinstatement is still pending in the court system.
I’ve written extensively about the latest fiasco. Suffice it to say there’s a delegate vacancy in the 19th District, which lies entirely within Wayne County. The law is clear: when such a vacancy occurs, the county executive committee of the resigned official meets and recommends three possible replacements for the seat.
Wayne County Chair Maynard quickly and efficiently convened the committee as required by state code. It never occurred to him that he needed Stauffer’s permission, especially since that’s not included in the law.
Those interested in the job applied, interviews were conducted and the three recommended names were sent to Justice by January 14. But Stauffer’s widdy-bitty feelings were hurt. Nobody asked his permission.
So he set up another round of interviews, assembled two “committee” members, who selected their own three names. Those were sent to Justice and that’s when the stuff that Bess taught Harry to call “manure” hit the fan.
There was only one difference in the lists. Josh Booth was on the second list, replacing Jay Marcum who was on the first.
Wayne County’s committee sought a Writ of Mandamus to force the Governor to choose from their list. The Supreme Court had not ruled on the writ motion when Justice just went ahead and named Booth as his replacement from Stauffer’s three.
Thumbing his nose at courts is not unusual for Justice. He’s been doing it for years.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court placed the appointment of Booth on hold and ordered a show cause hearing on the Wayne Writ for February 9.
In the latest volley, Stauffer’s group has filed to intervene in the petition. As if there’s not enough animosity between the state and county committee, Stauffer apparently wants to create more.
He insists, as did Potter before him, that party bylaws supersede state code. Because the GOP is more or less a “private” group, they have their own rules according to Stauffer.
That would be like forming a Boy Scout group and insisting its bylaws permitted eight-year-olds to drink liquor. “Our bylaws supersede state law ” the Scout Master could explain to authorities.
Hopefully, for once the court will side with the law rather than heading for left or right field.
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Why, my friend Tom Roten asked on his WVHU radio show, were we the only ones covering the Wayne story a week ago?
Ask yourselves that question. By this weekend, it was big news.
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It only took two weeks for spineless Republicans to switch from criticizing former President Trump to seeking his support for their races in 2020.
President Biden still had not cured the Covid virus by press time, as he promised. Trump is looking better every day.
The quick turnaround for Republicans seeking Trump’s approval shows how soon the 2022 election cycle will arrive. It’s time for would-be candidates to get involved.
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Chris Stirewalt, who cut his journalistic teeth at the late Charleston Daily Mail, lost his Fox News political guru job recently.
With respect to news coverage, Stirewalt opined, “Many Americans now consider any news that might suggest that they are in error or that their side has been defeated as an attack on them personally. The lie that Trump won the 2020 election wasn’t nearly as much aimed at the opposing party as it was at the news outlets that stated the obvious, incontrovertible fact.”
I remain amazed, two weeks after the inauguration of President Biden, that there are still folks who believe Trump and the military have some sort of coup planned. Do I think Trump won the 2020 election? Probably. Could we ever prove it? No.
Is Trump and the military planning to return him to power? Not unless they do it at the ballot box in 2024.
On the other hand, Stirewalt is a living example that Fox News drifted toward the left during the Trump term. Once the voice for reasonable conservatism, they often were as bad as CNN and MSNBC in their coverage of Trump.
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Better late than never perhaps. It appears the state’s medical marijuana program may get started three years late.
Patients will be able to register with the state next week and a list of approved prescribing physicians is up on the Internet.
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On the subject of the Wayne County delegate selection, State Senator Mark Maynard disputed rumors reported here last week saying that he was supporting Booth and trying to influence the selection process.
Coincidental, one must assume, is it that when I reported the rumor, Booth’s name was not mentioned on the original list. List two was not created until five days after l quoted informed sources and Booth made that list.
Let’s not mention that Maynard’s mother was also on the two-member “committee” that made up the second list with Booth’s name.
Coincidences happen regularly in Wayne, I’m told.
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If the Wayne committee had not filed at the Supreme Court, it would have been interesting to see if House of Delegates members themselves would have sought to keep Booth from taking the seat.
There were strong rumors that they might have at least tried.
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Accountability is something the current state Republican party does not understand.
When Kris Warner or Conrad Lucas were chairs, most of the secrecy was gone. With the advent of Melody Potter, we returned to earlier days of darkness.
I predict Stauffer and his minions will regret intervening in the Wayne case because the law is not on their side.
I was otherwise tied up when Stauffer had his Wayne selection meeting. Even though he said it was “closed” to the public and press, I would normally have been there.
But I pledge this, on behalf of the public: if Stauffer ever schedules another closed candidate interview session, especially in a public building, I will be there. I’m a well-known pacifist, so I will peacefully resist removal except by an authorized law enforcement representative.
The people have a right to know.
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Count new Republican State Senator Rupie Phillips as one of those not real enthused about President Biden’s energy plans.
Phillips, a longtime coal supporter, said he listened to Biden explain how he wants to eliminate fossil fuels as an energy source. In answer to skeptics who discuss the loss of jobs, Biden said windmills and solar energy are profitable now and can offer “good, high-paying, union jobs.”
Phillips countered, “I was glad to hear how well solar is doing in profitability. That means we can remove subsidies we’ve given to them for years and give it toward fossil fuels instead.”
Phillips said he’s working with fellow legislators “to get that done.”
Ron Gregory covers the legislature and writes a weekly column for lootpress.com. Contact him at 304-533 5185 or email@example.com.