W.Va. Dems on hand to help open Berkeley County campaign office

August 20, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • West Virginia State Auditor Glen B. Gainer III rallies with fellow Democratic Party candidates at the opening of the party's Berkeley County 2012 election campaign headquarters in downtown Martinsburg Monday.
Photo by Matthew Umstead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — All vying for re-election, West Virginia’s attorney general, state auditor, treasurer and a state Supreme Court of Appeals justice, joined area Democratic Party leaders in Martinsburg Monday for the opening of the party’s Berkeley County campaign office.

“All of us need your help,” state Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson/Berkeley, told those gathered for the celebration rally at 115 S. Queen St.

Among the first to speak, Snyder, who is opposed by Republican Jim Ruland in the Nov. 6 general election, predicted a “brutal, nasty election year.”

Before introducing the candidates who were on hand for the rally, Niles Bernick, chairman of the Berkeley County Democratic Executive Committee, said in an interview that the party has fielded some quality candidates locally.

“I think the two delegates seats — the 61st and 63rd districts — are very winnable,” Bernick said of the candidacies of Jason Barrett and Donn Marshall, respectively.

Bernick also touted the party’s Democratic candidate for Berkeley County Council, Mark Barney, as well as Snyder’s bid for another term.

“It’s critical that he (wins),” Bernick said.

Bernick said the campaign headquarters would be used for voter outreach efforts as well as for distributing campaign materials — from yard signs to bumper stickers, “the works!”

Longtime Jefferson County Del. John Doyle, who spoke on behalf of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin who was absent, touted the governor’s efforts to bring jobs to the county and overall leadership in keeping the state’s finances in order.

“I urge you to bust a gut and get this guy re-elected,” said Doyle, who is not seeking re-election this year.

 Justice Robin Jean Davis, who is seeking one of two seats on the Supreme Court, touted her outreach efforts across the state regarding various court issues.

“I know how to get to the Eastern Panhandle,” Davis said of past visits.

Aside from touting his record while serving as Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw noted personal connections to the Eastern Panhandle, saying he has a genuine affection for the area where he once had come to live and also had honeymooned here.

State Treasurer John D. Perdue, who noted the state’s improved bond rating and the development of a college savings program in his stump speech, recounted the beginning of his career while working for the Department of Agriculture in Inwood, W.Va., more than 30 years ago.

Auditor Glen B. Gainer III, who is opposed by former Berkeley County Del. Larry Faircloth, said in an interview that he is running for re-election on his record as the state’s chief book keeper since he took office in 1993.

Gainer’s father and his cousin, Denzil Gainer, both served as auditor before him, dating back to 1960. Since then, only one other person outside of his family, John Gates, held the office. And Gates only served one term, Gainer said.

With that being said, Gainer noted the long-standing tenure of outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass, who was elected to 11 four-year terms since 1964 before opting not to run for another term this year.

“(He) did by himself what has taken three of us,” Gainer said.

Among the magistrate candidates to speak, Jim Humphrey, said he suffered “a little setback” when he suffered a slight stroke a few weeks ago, but vowed he was going to give it his all to win in November.

Humphrey was appointed to complete the unexpired term of W. Randy Smith, who resigned after winning a $79 million Powerball jackpot in 2010.

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