CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Republican Party candidates and organizations have been running media ads criticizing Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, arguing that the Democrats promote policies that hurt the coal industry and kill jobs throughout the state's economy.Seth Wimer, who is managing Bill Maloney's gubernatorial campaign, said, "We have fewer people working than any other state in the nation, and we have lost over 3,000 coal mining jobs in the last 10 months because of Earl Ray Tomblin's policies, like West Virginia cap-and-trade."While Earl Ray's support comes from the lobbyists and politicians who depend on him for insider deals, Bill Maloney earned the support of thousands of West Virginia coal miners who know he will help them get back to work," Wimer told the Gazette-Mail.In this year's election campaigns, though, Tomblin and Manchin both have been endorsed by business and labor groups, including the state Chamber of Commerce, West Virginia AFL-CIO, the West Virginia Coal Association and the United Mine Workers union.
Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said, "I would like to say that I am not surprised, but that I am truly shocked that the Raese-Maloney team believes they can spend millions of dollars trying to discredit the state Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia AFL-CIO, our coal miners in the UMWA, and the people who invest in coal mining jobs -- the West Virginia Coal Association."These groups are real West Virginians who have endorsed and totally support Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin," Puccio said. "I believe these groups deserve to be heard from after being attacked by the Raese-Maloney team."Conrad Lucas, chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, said that, "after 80 years of complete control in the state Legislature, failed Democratic policies have made West Virginia the second-poorest state in the nation.
"They have us ranked 51st in overall education performance, 49th in private-sector job growth, 48th in per-capita income," Lucas said. "And West Virginia ranks dead last in percent of its work force that is actually employed."I don't know how you can look at that track record and call it anything but an utter failure. Earl Ray has been in state government for almost half of that 80 years, so that's plenty of time to prove that he is simply incapable of figuring out how to remedy this travesty."Joshua Sowards, Raese's campaign communications director, said, "The AFL-CIO, an explicit campaign arm of President Obama's Democrat Party, abandoned West Virginia workers years ago."At the Chamber of Commerce, Coal Association, and the UMWA union, it's a question of really pathetic leadership. These are nothing more than compliance groups. They teach people how to get along with the current system of government."
The number of West Virginia coal mines dropped from 264 to 174 between 2008 and May 2012, Sowards added, while as many as 10 power plants have shut down in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia."The real question is why these special-interest groups and unions are supporting politicians who are incapable of creating jobs or defending the coal industry," Sowards said. "In the private sector, our eyes are wide open, but these civic and union organizations choose not to see."Puccio said "the Raese-Maloney team" believes its out-of-state big money can "come in here and take on the Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Coal Association and the UMW."But tell us why the Chamber and the AFL-CIO are not good for West Virginia," Puccio said.
Lucas said, "A grand tragedy for West Virginia is that so many of our elected leaders choose to sell their souls to Washington liberals like Barack Obama, to the detriment of our energy jobs and working families."A worse tragedy is when leaders here in this state are fooled by those who say one thing to their faces and then govern as Obama or Nancy Pelosi would."Rank-and-file workers, union and non-union, know who will truly protect them from the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], cap-and-trade and 'Obamacare.' In order to stop the federal government from burying West Virginia, voters here know they have no other choice to run our nation and state but Mitt Romney, John Raese and Bill Maloney."Manchin said he felt "pleased and honored" by the endorsements from business and labor groups."That they endorsed and support us speaks volumes," he said. "That is surely not against their best interest."It is not that everyone agrees on everything, but we are all working on jobs and creating a better atmosphere and a better energy policy.
"I want to fix the financial mess we are in, so we don't give it to the next generation. I want to make sure we have an energy policy less dependent on foreign oil, so we do not fight these needless wars. We need to start rebuilding America."Reach Paul J. Nyden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5164.