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November 13, 2008     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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November 13, 2008
 

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4 SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON Farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, November 13, 2008 Volume 143 - No. 46 By State Senator John Yoder 1 6th Senatorial District Negative campaigning did not appear to work in West Virginia this year. If anything, it backfired. Many readers may have forgotten the negative campaigning of Don Blankenship 2 years ago in the 2006 elections. Blankenship, who is the CEO of Massey Coal, decided he was going to elect a majority of Republicans to the House of Delegates in 2006, and fi- nanced ar~independent expenditures campaign in the amount of $3.2 million targeting 36 Democratic incumbents in the WV House of Delegates. Blankenship ran a series of attack ads mentioning the names of' the incumbents over and over, blasting them for voting for abor- tion and gay rights. The targets included Jefferson County in- cumbent Delegates Bob Tabb, Locke Wysong, and John Doyle. He gave them so much publicity and name recognition in the ads at- tacking them that I believe he made them virtually unbeatable for as long as they chose to run for office again. The negative Blankenship campaign and the $3.2 million he spent on it were a disaster. Every single one of the targeted in- cumbents was re-elected. The result was that the House Repub- licans lost a net of 4 seats and the new Democrats elected to the House gave labor a majority of the membership in the House, pushing out the business Democrats in favor of labor leadership. In spite of Blankenship's failed attack ads in 2006, Democrats did the same thing and went on the attack this year. The WV Dem- ocratic party and its union financial backers targeted 8 incumbent Republican House members for defeat. One of the targeted in- cumbents was Del. Craig Blair in Berkeley County. The Democrats sent out up to 8 mailers against each targeted House Republican incumbent, attacking them directly by name and distorting their voting record. One of the attacks against them was for voting against a campaign finance law, without disclosing that the bill was subsequently declared unconstitutional by a fed- eral judge. The Republicans voted nearly unanimously against the bill because they wanted to take the time to fix the constitutional defects before passing the law. Just as Blankenship's negative attack ads did not work two years ago against Republicans, neither did the negative attack ads of the Democrats work against Republicans this year. Every single one of the 8 targeted House Republicans won re-election, at a time when Democrats were doing extremely well in other state- wide elections. In fact, the Republicans had fully expected to lose at least 1 House seat this year, but instead increased their number from 28 to 29 of 100 House members. In the West Virginia Senate, the number of Republican Senators did drop from 11 to 8 out of 34, but that was mostly due to a lack of any viable Republican candidates to run for open seats where Republicans were leaving the Senate. In the only hotly contested race involving an incumbent, the Democratic candidate Mike Ross ran a very negative campaign against incumbent State Senator Clark Barnes, involving many ads against Sen. Barnes mention- ing his name over and over and unfairly attacking his voting re- cord. In 2004, Mike Ross was a veteran 12-year incumbent State Sen- ator in the 15th Senatorial District, which covers part of Berke- ley County and all of Morgan County. He was defeated by Clark Barnes, by the slimmest of margins, with a 50% to 5d% vote. Ross tried to regain his seat this year, outspending Clark Barnes by more than a 5 to 1 margin (more than $250,000 to Barnes' $50,000). The result of the negative ads against Sen Barnes? Sen. Barnes won re-election by 56% to 44% this time around. At the state-wide level there was another example of failed neg- ative campaigning in the Supreme Court race. Democratic Su- preme Court nominee Mennis Ketchum was expected to come in 2nd or 3rd in a race for State Supreme' Court where the top two vote recipients win the position. Margaret Workman was expected to come in first. CALA (Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse) ran nu- merous ads and sent out numerous attack mailings against Men- nis Ketchum, mentioning his name and attacking him as a per- sonal injury lawyer. I had many Jefferson County residents ask me about him, telling me they were upset by the attacks against him and saying they were thinking of voting for him just because of the negative mailings they had received attacking him. (I vot- ed for him myself and told them I was going to vote for him). The outcome was that instead of coming in 2nd or 3rd behind former Justice Workman as expected, Mennis Ketchum came in first. Finally, at the federal level, Ann Barth ran many attack ads against Republican Congressional incumbent Shelly Moore Capi- to, mentioning her by name and trying to tie her to President Bush and big corporations. Shelly Moore Capito won by a very healthy margin of 57% to 43%. I am not sure why highly paid political consultants urge West Virginia candidates to go negative and run attack ads, but perhaps they make more money as political consultants by running nega- tive attack ads than positive ones. The bottom line, however, for both parties, is that negative attack ads did not appear to work in West Virginia this year as a general rule, and in fact, probably helped the incumbent attacked. by Linda Thistle 4 7 , 4 1 4 1 7 7 4 4 1 7 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * * * Moderate ** Challenging *** HO0 BOY 2008 King Features Synd Inc. 7JJ-"-- " "I t R31kc I'D 50 GXO'II D TO IND GAS 2.97 a GALLON " p' These old photos were pro- vided to The Spirit by Mike Stoneberger. The top photo is an unusual view of the Powhat- an Brass and Iron Works from the air. The plant covered five and one-half acres of property in the Ranson area. Powhatan manufactured cast brass fittings for fire protection and stops for gas, water and steam. Powhat- an began business in 1892, but today is defunct. In the bottom photo, local businessman, the late Charles F. Reininger is shown, second from left, along with members of his staff on the steps of the Bank of Charles Town (now Charles Town City Hall). The bags of money are believed to be part of some type of em- ployee bonus program. Anyone having identification or more information is invited to call The Spirit of Jefferson at 725-2046 783694215 461725398 529831467 895376124 637142859 142589673 274963581 956418732 318257946 Way America Cares TM Community Last week's Sudoku answer of ~efter~on ~)t3ocat, (USPS 510-960) ESTABLISHED 1844 Published Weekly on Thursday by The Jefferson Publishing Company, Inc. 210 North George Street Charles Town, West Virginia Telephone: (304) 725-2046 Mail Address: P.O. Box 966 Periodicals paid at Charles Town, W. Va. 25414 Charles Town and additional Periodicals Postage Paid mailing offices Annual Subscription Price To Jefferson County addresses $25.00(including tax) To all other West Virginia addresses $27.00(including tax) ToaU other USA addresses $28.00(no tax required) EDITOR & PUBLISHER Edward "Pat" Dockeney POSTMASTER: Please send address change to The Spirit of Jefferson-Farmer's Advocate, P.O. Box 966, Charles Town, WV 25414.