State political party committees remain interesting organizations, even if most party members will never attend one of their meetings. After all, these state committees still draft candidates to run for office, as well as promote their party platforms.
In short, such committees help to define what their party is going to be for the next few election cycles.
Until the Republican resurgence in West Virginia in recent years, the state Republican Executive Committee was traditionally the neglected child of politics. It only came to life in a great way to dutifully defend the Moore and Underwood administrations.
Then came Conrad Lucas’ tenure as State GOP chairman, from 2012 to 2017. Lucas helped several statewide and local GOP officials win their races.
Moreover, Lucas worked hard to help the West Virginia GOP achieve arguably its biggest accomplishment in three generations: flipping both houses of the West Virginia Legislature in 2016.
That achievement had eluded Republicans in West Virginia for more than 80 long years. Lucas is a strategist at heart, and his ability to encourage other Southern West Virginians to change parties, or to at least vote Republican, was key to the momentum of the GOP here.
Affable and unapologetic in his conservatism, Lucas is now running to have a second tenure as GOP chairman at the party’s vote this coming Saturday.
One could ask what is left for a Republican chairman to accomplish, now that the GOP has supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature.
Plus, the GOP has won all three cdongressional seats and all of the statewide offices, with the sole exception of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
However, it is one thing to win all these positions and another to keep them more than a term or two. Lucas will want to secure the party’s impressive gains.
Plus, a political thinker like Lucas can devote more of his attention to public policy efforts, now that his Republicans are in place to bring the change any party in power seeks.
Lucas was the kind of chairman who was always on the move, never one to want his party to rest on their laurels. The old saying that, “political muscles are only strengthened through use,” comes to mind.
If the West Virginia GOP gives Lucas another opportunity to serve as state chairman, they will have elected a proven party leader who will try to persuade every West Virginian to come aboard the good ship GOP. Making the West Virginia GOP truly popular across the state would, no doubt, be a chief objective for Lucas.
It’s a little thing called salesmanship — and Lucas has it.