Congressional candidate Swint campaigns in the Panhandle

June 11, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Howard Swint
Howard Swint

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Howard Swint, “a common man running a common campaign to represent the common people,” wants to wrest the 12-year Second District U.S. House seat from Republican incumbent Shelley Moore Capito.

Swint, 53, of Charleston, W.Va., said Monday he is running such a low-key campaign that he has yet to raise “enough money to count.”

He doesn’t accept campaign contributions from corporations or special-interest groups.

“I only accept individual donations,” he said.

Swint seems undaunted that he’s facing a mountainous fight for Capito’s seat. According to, Capito has raised more than $1.2 million.

Swint beat two Eastern Panhandle candidates, Dugald Brown and William McCann, in the May 8 Democratic primary.

He first ran for elected office in 1996, when he lost a congressional race primary against incumbent Democrat Bob Wise. He lost again in the 2004 party primary against Eric Wells.

“I finally won this year,” he said.

Swint said his campaign will be based on grass roots and social media.

He is carrying the banner for such liberal causes as fair-share taxing of millionaires, which he said, “could reduce the federal budget by 50 percent every year without cutting needed programs. He’s also pushing equal pay for women and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

He said “Capito voted for the (U.S. Rep. Paul) Ryan budget and other programs that would cut a hole in the nation’s safety net. She follows the Republican line on all boilerplate issues.”

Swint said he would file a bill calling for the end of the wage cap on Social Security payments, which now stands at $110,000 a year.

“Let millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and Social Security would be restored to solvency overnight,” he said.

Swint has a special message for Eastern Panhandle voters who live along the Potomac River Watershed.

He proposes appointment of a congressional caucus that would reach out to the states that border the watershed to focus on ending the pollution from more than 100 chemical compounds that are finding their finding their way into the water.

He describes mutated smallmouth bass in the river “as canaries in a coal mine. We need federal regulations to study those compounds that cause these mutations and regulate them,” he said.

Swint will be in the area through Wednesday for speaking engagements and press interviews.

His campaign Website is

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