Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ireland for Governor 2011!?


Betty Ireland is expected to be a leading Republican for the 2011 Very Special Election for Governor. Several West Virginia GOP members (@WVGOP) met yesterday to discuss plowing the way for Ireland to run, including; new WV GOP Chairman Mike Stuart (@MikeStuartWV) and former Governor Arch Moore. Speaking of Moore, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito still tops the list for 2011 GOP gubernatorial candidates, because she can keep her House seat while running for Governor.

It's also rumored that Stuart would like to run for public office in 2012. Other GOP 2011 gubernatorial possibilities include Mark Sorsaia, the Putnam County Prosecuting Attorney. For more information on Sorsaia, check out Zac Taylor's story in today's Gazette (@wvgazette) :

Ireland and Pritt: Strapping on Stilettos in 2012?

Here’s an option I haven’t heard yet: Betty Ireland for Governor in 2012? Charlotte Pritt for Congress?

Everyone seems to think Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (@Capito4Congress) will run for Governor in 2012, but with the possibility of having 5 people sitting in the Governor’s seat between now and then, why would she want to? Her father was Governor, so continuing the family legacy in her father’s footsteps seems reasonable. But what will our beloved Mountain State look like between now and then? And with her eye on Rockefeller’s seat in 2014, why would she pass that up?

So what other Republican female has statewide recognition and could be strong contender for our first female Governor? Former Secretary of State Betty Ireland (@bettyireland). She’s “politically connected,” weekly Facebook updates and tweets that depict her as a lover of family, policy, and profession. Her latest tweet was about Governor Jan Brewer (@GovBrewer) and how they knew each other when they were both Secretary of State. Ireland was the first female elected to West Virginia’s Executive Branch when she became the 28th Secretary of State in November 2004. Winning that election proved she knows how to campaign to “likely voters,” so she’s got her media vehicles to all demographics covered.

Another former female politico who seems to be under the radar is Charlotte Pritt.

Pritt served in the West Virginia House of Delegates for 4 years,then went onto serve in the State Senate for two terms. In 1996, she became the first female to secure the gubernatorial nomination for either political party in West Virginia, running against Manchin. She also ran for Governor in 1992 but was defeated by Gaston Caperton. Does she have her eye on something in 2012?

2012 has been dubbed the year of the female in the political world, and these are two experienced West Virginia women that just might be strapping stilettos on and hitting the campaign trail.

Going “Negative”: If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

With a very Special and General Election rapidly approaching, campaigns are going to get down right dirty. All this negativity, and the accompanying publicity, can really get under a candidate’s skin, especially if they aren’t prepared. That’ s why thick skin, a proactive mindset, and learning the art of “spin” are critical for campaign success.

Very Special Election Democratic Primary: Governor Manchin won’t go negative, he’ll spin Ken Hechler’s anti-mountain-top-removal around attempting to discuss jobs, how important coal is to our economy, and talk about how he’s been there during coal mining tragedies. Manchin will be passionate, he’ll be dedicated, and most likely he’ll win. And wildcard Sheiri Fletcher? I’m definitely in the dark on that one.

Very Special Election Republican Primary: Raese wins. (I think Mac Warner will campaign really hard, but Raese will outspend him.)

Very Special Election General: It’ll be an election that will simultaneously move and remove mountains. In the end, I bet Manchin will win, but so much mud will be slung that both candidates and every West Virginian will be so dirty, we’ll look like we came from an underground mine!

So if you’re ever considering running for public office, take a good step back in your stilettos and analyze what will go on from today through November 2nd. If people talking about you behind you back hurts your feelings, if you’re paranoid, if there are negative comments on a blog about you, if you have any skeletons hidden in your Carrie Bradshaw-esque closet, if you have burned any bridges, if you have done anything illegal, reconsider. Politics is a profession for the passionate, and in the heat of a campaign anything can happen. All is fair in love, war, and politics. After all, they don’t make firefighter uniforms for politicians.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Going After Non-Historic Voters : Campaigning Hechler-Style

After reading the news in bed this morning with my chihuahua cuddled up next to me, I reviewed Ken Hechler’s (thanks for the correction Ken Ward/@Kenwardjr) first campaign speech (check out footage from @WVWatchdog

He doesn’t stand behind a podium. He’s 95. He’s managing his own campaign. He’s definitely a different kind of candidate. And I’m excited.

“Well I”m not only going to go after historic voters, I’m going to go after unhistoric voters... the average people of West Virginia,” he proclaims, “I stand for a new form of politics.”

What’s so appealing about Ken Hechler? He is going after regular West Virginians. He, and his campaign, are modest and approachable. My dad, a blue-collar guy who owns and manages an electrical contracting company, said he’d vote for Hechler over Manchin because he likes his style and he feels Hechler can relate to him. I must admit that as a 25 year-old “average” West Virginian, Hechler-style campaigning is much more attractive to me than that of the suspected Senate “shoe-in.”

Hechler is not alienating anyone, (keep in mind I’m not talking about issues, just candidate campaigning styles). If you’d like to make a donation, he’d really appreciate it. I can’t afford to attend Manchin’s $5,000 per person fundraiser at Senator Rockefeller’s D.C. residence, and even if I had the money, I’d rather spend it on shoes. It’s pretty obvious Manchin hasn’t attempted, yet, to engage your average West Virginia “Joe” or younger voters (he still isn’t following anyone on Twitter).

While the spotlights don’t shine in Hechler’s favor, I wish Manchin would make note of what made me stop and turn my head away from the handsome man who made me fall in love with politics almost ten years ago and take a long look at 95-year old Ken Hechler.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WV Politics: A Choo of a Different Color

With West Virginia politics, politicians, and aspiring politicos in the national spot light, reporters, bloggers, and political junkies from across the nation are writing articles and posts about the future of the Mountain State’s political arena. But they aren’t from West Virginia.

It’s strange to read an outsider’s opinion on the lay of the land, or should I say majestic mountainous terrain, when it comes to West Virginia’s political future. Recently, Aaron Blake (@FixAaron), Washington Post political blogger, posted “W.Va. lawmakers already jockeying to replace Manchin,” ( This is a detailed account with brief historical snipets perfectly fit for anyone who isn’t involved in West Virginia politics. Blake includes a laundry list of potential gubernatorial candidates, including Senate President Tomblin (@Senator_Tomblin), State Treasurer John Perdue, Senator Jeff Kessler (@JeffKessler4Gov, I never would have guessed what he was running for!), and Senator Brooks McCabe (@BrooksMcCabeWV). Other possibilities Blake mentions include Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (@NatalieTennant), as well as Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio and Senate appointee Carte Goodwin.

That was news two weeks ago. Note to non-West Virginia journalists: Dig deeper, find out who several of the political insiders are, and call them. That’s where the real story is!

I guess its archetypal to feel a closer, more personal connection with your state’s political lay of the land, both today and tomorrow. And I’m sure South Carolina politicos like Wesley Donehue and Phil Bailey feel how I feel about West Virginia when I read posts and articles about the political roller coaster their state is on right now.

But I can’t help but feel like we mountaineers are in a category all our own, a “Choo” of a different color. For example, our Governor (and projected soon-to-be United States Senator) took his staff with him during the UBB mine disaster. The staff sat with the families involved, listened, comforted, and practically became extended family members with these people. I’m pretty sure I recall Manchin saying during a TV interview, “We’re all family in West Virginia.” In New Orleans, is the Governor’s staff employing hands-on efforts with the oil spill disaster that Manchin’s staff did?

All I can say is that I’m happy to click my red, patent-leather Stuart Weitzman stilettos together and say to myself, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home...”

Palin + Blankenship = One Bad Outfit for WV Candidates

Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) and Massey’s Don Blankenship (@donblankenship) are contributing to West Virginia GOP (@WVGOP) campaigns. According to Lawrence Messina’s (@lmessina) AP article (, “Blankenship, Palin among W.Va. GOP US House donors,” candidates “Spike” Maynard (@SpikeMaynard) and David McKinley (@mckinley4cong) received $3,500 from Sarah Palin’s PAC, SarahPAC. Blankenship reportedly contributed $4,800 to Maynard’s campaign, and McKinley received $2,400, (obviously we know who “The Don” likes more).

Does this affiliation to a grizzly bear and a black-hearted coal baron help West Virginia GOP candidates, or put them in need of the political fashion police? There is no question that campaigns need money, but at what cost? Obviously both candidates opponents now can run negative ads slamming them for accepting donations, especially after Don Blankenship’s recent interview where he deemed the UBB disaster as “an act of God.”

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (@Capito4Congress) does not account for any campaign donations from this “bad outfit.” Smart move.

It’ll be interesting to see if Blankenship contributes to Governor Manchin (@JoeManchinWV, I don’t know why I’m including this since he still isn’t following anyone), and how he spins that campaign contribution around...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

West Virginia’s Digital Divide

Connecting with constituents through the digital democracy (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc...) is not the first thing West Virginia politicians need to do. I feel the number one mission-critical effort is to connect residents across the State to the Internet. This connection is the first step in optimizing communication between those in office/those running for office with those who put you in office, thus combating voter complacency through engagement.

While at a West Virginia University Alumni Pig Roast in Boone County this weekend, I pulled out my iPhone to 4square, but didn’t have any cell signal. Sad to say, not having cell signal is something I got used to while driving around Southern West Virginia working on Senator Truman Chafin’s (@Senator_Chafin) campaign, (Hootie Dropped the Ball, anyone remember that radio jingle?). Not having 3G was a bit of a dilemma, however, for my boss (@wvlarry) and I when we were on a photo shoot for Greg Tucker in Summersville. While trying to check my email, our client asked if my iPhone used wireless and then gave me his wireless code. Thank heavens! What would I have done without an Internet connection?

Reality check: Not having an Internet connection is common for too many West Virginia residents. While I would go nuts not being able to check my Twitter feed, read the latest on Huffington Post, or shop at or for shoes, thousands across the Mountain State don’t have a choice. And it’s unacceptable.

As a Social Media Strategist for political campaigns, it’s my job to connect elected officials and aspiring politicians with their constituency. The “democratization of communication” can only happen when both parties engage in an open, digital dialogue. But without Internet infrastructure, ePolitics won’t happen anytime soon in West Virginia.

State Senator Ron Stollings, well-respected Mountain M.D. and client, also attended the Pig Roast, and I asked him what the 411 was with broadband infrastructure. He replied that things were coming along, and that every major public building, from schools to hospitals to libraries, would soon have Internet connection. While I’m following up with him and several other elected politicos this week regarding this issue, “soon” can’t come soon enough.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Albert Who? Albert Howard? Who is this guy?

Albert Who? Albert Howard? Who is this guy?

I hope I wasn’t the only West Virginian asking that question yesterday when some guy from California registers with the Secretary of State’s Office to run in the special election to for Senator Byrd’s seat. Is this a joke?

His website,, is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And what’s with the photo of him and his car? He’s on facebook ( and twitter (@AlbertHowardUSA), and for some reason has information about a statewide New Hampshire Primary Recount on this website. What? And what is up with the random blog posts under the “Unlock the Dreams” tab? Apparently Howard owns some radio station because icons continuously come up as I scroll through his very, very busy website. And what’s up with the link to his PAC? It takes you back to his homepage.

So Albert, if you are indeed a real living, breathing human being, I challenge you to come to West Virginia. And make it soon.

Don’t Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face Mr. President

“...partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles,” said Obama.

Hypocritical? President Obama points a finger and blames the same type of new media culture that got him elected for the firing of Shirley Sherrod. In a Huffington Post (@huffingtonpost) article, President Barak Obama told ABC News that the “real culprit” was the media.

I tend to disagree. Mr. President, there are countless blogs and books that discuss how social/new media got you elected. Now, more than ever, politicians and anyone in the public sector should know to err on the side of caution because all it takes is one tweet to blow something completely out of proportion. We live in a world of interconnected communications, a digital democracy that spans all across the globe. This new media culture is what many think is the next form of journalism, where blog posts and facebook photos are broadcast on traditional media. Reporters seek out information from tweets, because it’s in real-time, it’s where the action is. I’m suprised the AP doesn’t have a “social media sourcing” section!

My advice? Think before you speak. Think before you act. Think before you do anything at all, because all it takes is one tweet, one blog post, one youtube video and you’re news. Oh! And make sure you’re camera-ready ;)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What the Fashion Industry Could Teach West Virginia Government

While conversing at Bridge Road Bistro last night with two friends about the “messy closet” of major political issues in West Virginia right now, the son of a former Governor said, “Why didn’t they see this coming? We need to be more proactive, but all we seem to be is reactive.” And in all honesty, why was the situation regarding what to do in the event a United State Congressman from West Virginia passes away in office not already addressed years ago? Why was the State Constitution and the Code so ambiguous?

No one planned for this, or apparently had the foresight to see this coming. Had this issue already been addressed, hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars could have been saved. I’m not blaming anyone or pointing the finger, we all should take responsibility. But after hearing that question last night, something from my fashion background flashed before my eyes: PREPARATION.

As a buyer for Ivor’s on Lee for about five years, there’s one thing you must do, and that’s to be prepared. When you go to market, it’s generally 4-6 months before the clothes arrive in your store. So research about fashion trends, fabric colors, and even more macrocosmic factors such as the economic condition of the area your store is in and what your customers are more likely to buy going forward, must be conducted. Walking into market without a strategic plan is pretty much style suicide.

So why didn’t we have a strategy in place in the event a United States Senator passed away while in office? Poor planning.

In this morning’s Charleston Gazette (@wvgazette), Alison Knezenich (@aliknez), wrote about yet another ambiguity in State Code ( With a looming special election for Governor in 2011, let’s hope our legislators take a note from the fashion industry... Off to market!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

From the Manchin to the White House?

With Capito out of the race for Senator Byrd’s seat, Governor Manchin must be thrilled. Now that Manchin heads to DC, I predict his term as United States Senator will only last for two years. With his eye is on the White House, Manchin for President in 2012 is very possible. But will America allow another man in the White House who has only served one term in Congress? Manchin does possess more charisma than Obama, heck he’s the man who made me fall in love with politics.

But President Manchin? I think Vice President Manchin is more like it. If Obama wins the Democratic Primary in 2012, he’ll need someone with an extremely high national approval rating as his Veepee: and that man is soon-to-be Senator Manchin. Another option? Obama doesn’t go past the primary and someone else wins the Democratic nomination for President, and they select Senator Manchin to join them as Vice President.

With the highest approval rating of any elected official in America, maybe “President Manchin” isn’t too far out in left field after all. West Virginia House of Delegates member Tiffany Lawrence said during a speech at a fundraiser that Manchin greatly inspired her to go into politics. If he make me fall in love with politics, he just might make America fall in love with him.

My fashion background begs me to ask one question of the soon-to-be Senator and his first lady ...who is going to be your stylist? I just might have a couple recommendations.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Calling All Politicians: Stop Being Anti-Social! Be Social By Design!

What does the term “PC” mean to you? Politically correct? Wrong! “PC” means POLITICALLY CONNECTED! How connected are you to your constituents? The number one way to get real feedback and converse with the folks who elected you is through SOCIAL MEDIA!

The number one fail in political social media right now, and I don’t mean to be harsh, is @JoeManchinWV. The man who made me fall in love with politics isn’t following a soul on Twitter. I spoke with Senator Oliverio (Mike_Oliverio) last night, a future U.S. House of Reps member, and mentioned he might want to change his Facebook picture. Delegate Doug Skaff (dougskaff) asked me how much he should tweet.

With the youngest and sexiest United States Senator in office right now, West Virginia politicians need to know how to better utilize social media (or new media, whichever), to communicate with their constituents. Goodwin doesn’t even have a Twitter account.

The most recent political social media development in West Virginia, in my opinion, has been Speaker Thompson (@RT4WV) using his Facebook page to post statements regarding his views about what’s going on at the Legislature (@wvlegislature). Mannix Porterfield, a reporter, even asked the Speaker a question on his page and Thompson replied! He’s effectively using social media to communicate with both the media and constituents.

So all you politicians in the great state of West Virginia and across the United States, when you’re ready for my class on political social media, give me a call, 304.993.8464.

I Wish I Had Worn Flats!

After leaving the Capitol yesterday after waiting for a presser that was indefinitely postponed, I raced back to the office (@ThinkRainmaker) then to the Marriott to prepare for Greg Tucker’s fundraiser. Speaker of the House (@wvhouse) Rick Thompson (RT4WV) also had a fundraiser last night, as did Delegate Bob Beach (WVDelegate). (On a personal note, I’m confused as to why Delegate Beach chose to have fundraiser on the same night as the Speaker. Can anyone clue me in?)

When I was just about to leave the Marriott, I received a text from Ry Rivard (@ryrivard) about a 9pm presser the Governor (@JoeManchinWV) was about to have. So I raced back to the Capitol and ran, in my hot pink Donald Pliners, to the Governor’s press conference.

A tired Governor, Secretary of State (@NatalieTennant) and several members of the Senate (@wvsenate) and House (@wvhouse) announced that legislation had been passed in regard to the very special election. My favorite quote of the night came from Gover Manchin when Rivard asked him about the difficulty it took to pass this bill, “Take a picture.” Tired indeed! Secretary Tennant, as well as both Senate President Tomblin (@Senator_Tomblin) and Speaker Thompson made remarks. I must applaud Thompson for extending a sincere “thank you” to all the staffers who endured all the long days and late nights (I’m sure they wore flats).

As the hour grew late, I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t toss a pair of Beverly Feldman flats in my car. Earlier in the day, around 3:4pm, I also noticed Secretary Tennant had kicked her shoes off for a minute while sitting outside the House chamber. Note to self: keep a pair of flats in car at all times!

Monday, July 19, 2010

$160,000 for shoes? I’m in!

The lights keep flashing, the camera keeps rolling, but the movie just isn’t turning out the way he thought. And with West Virginia in the national spotlight, I bet Governor Manchin (@JoeManchinWV) wishes we could cut to a commercial break.

One bad camera angle: At a rate of approximately $30,000 per day, the West Virginia Legislature (@wvlegislature) failed to pass a bill both the state Senate (@wvsenate) and the House (@wvhouse) agreed upon. Overall, this special session cost approximately $160,000, (story by Daily Mail (@charleywest) reporter Ry Rivard (@ryrivard).

Another bad angle: Today Manchin is expected to make a proclamation for a special election. If he had done this originally, West Virginia could have saved almost $200,000. While it’s obvious the Governor attempted to go about this with as much legislative support as possible, it just didn’t happen. So W.W.M.D (What Will Manchin Do)?

Please understand that I am not bashing Governor Manchin, I deeply respect the man, worked for him when he was Secretary of State, volunteered on his first gubernatorial campaign, and dated a close member of the Manchin family. But from a PR perspective and as a tax payer, I’m just confused. And I would rather my tax dollars be spent on shoes than four days of a session with no real solution. Speaking of shoes, Senator Chafin (@Senator_Chafin), Senator Browning, and Delegate Doug Reynolds (dougreynolds16) have the best shoes of any legislators I’ve seen.

Taking a step back, with an obvious constituent outcry for an election to fill Senator Byrd’s seat, I can’t help but wonder if Governor calls for a special election and runs (which we know he will), how much the very special session that didn’t produce any very special succession legislation hurt him? Guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks and months!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

@Capito4Congress: Both House and Senate?

Thursday: Nothing. Friday: Nothing. Saturday: Nothing. Sunday: Still nothing. The West Virginia Legislature (@WVlegislature) has not produced a bill the Senate (@wvsenate) and House (@wvhouse) an agree on. As of Saturday evening, Governor Manchin (@JoeManchinWV) and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (no twitter account) couldn’t come to an agreement. And as of today, everyone is blaming everyone else for yet another special session where nothing really got accomplished (although the Senate did pass several education bills that weren’t slated to be dealt with until next week). I can’t help but wonder how much this very special session for a very special election is costing West Virginia tax payers.

What a big headache for Governor Manchin. According to several sources, he will call for a proclamation for a special election, as long as he has the Attorney General’s blessing. Now the question is whether or not Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (Capito4Congress) will run for Byrd’s seat.

The Senate Minority introduced the amendment to the Senate’s bill so Capito could run for Byrd’s seat and for her House seat. The Senate passed the amendment and the bill, although Senate President Tomblin (@Senator_Tomblin) wasn’t happy. Apparently Senator Randy White (@wvsenator) gave the final vote needed for the amendment to pass. Senator Mike Oliverio (@Mike_Oliverio) was seen trying to persuade White otherwise, and disapprovingly shaking his head when White wouldn’t change his mind/vote. Just a side note, White was defeated in the Primary this past May, (

Back to Capito, I think she’d be silly not to run for both seats. What’s there to lose? Her decision is expected tomorrow after Manchin calls for a special election. Wonder what she'll wear for her press conference...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Carte Goodwin Makes Politics Look Hot

With Governor Joe Manchin’s recent appointment of Carte Goodwin to fill Senator Byrd’s United States Senate seat, I can’t help but wonder how much the media will play up the new U.S. Senator. He’s handsome, well-connected, and the first of his kind; he’s the youngest U.S. Senator. Carte Goodwin is already the new face of West Virginia, but the more I think about it, Governor Manchin’s appointee is more than that. Could Carte Goodwin be the new face of American politicians?

During an election, voters tend to cast their ballot for the candidate they feel best represents them. And, no offense, but what does someone twice my age know about what I want and what issues are important to me? What policy needs do I share with my grandparents? If given the option, I would vote for someone I can relate to who understands the needs of my generation over someone who’s been in office for years and years. Historically, voters tend to choose a more attractive candidate, regardless of their politics. Remember Kennedy and Nixon’s debate during the boob tube revolution in politics? Kennedy was so much nicer to look at.

Handsome enough to be a boy-band pop-star and more attractive by far than Scott Brown, Goodwin will surely make the front page of newspapers and be on the cover of magazines. With Senator Rockefeller and Governor Manchin behind him, he’ll be sure to work well alongside current U.S. senators, but he also attractively appeals to Gen X and Gen Y. In other words, Carte Goodwin makes politics look hot.

Governor “Soprano” is in hair and makeup.... Lights, Camera, Action!

When does the film crew arrive? John Raese decides he’s running for against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito who isn’t officially running in an election that technically doesn’t exist yet. And what’s more? Raese calls Governor Joe Manchin (@JoeManchinWV for all you tweeters) “Governor Soprano!” The second after I finished reading Ry RIvard’s (@ryrivard)article ( in the Daily Mail (@charleywest), I hear that Aaron Sorkin is directing a film about John Edwards! (I just picked up Andrew Young's The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down.)

My idea of a dramatic, addicting reality show or just a TV show? West Virginia politics. If I was a producer looking for a hit new show, I’d do a reality show about Governor Joe Manchin, especially right now with everything that’s going on with Byrd’s succession and the possibility of a special election for governor. Heck, it felt like I was at a Red Carpet event during Judge Carrie Webster’s fundraiser with all the cameras, reporters, and flashing lights! I couldn’t seem to find the red carpet or a background for the standard social event paparazzi pictures though. Thinking back, Governor Manchin really has tried to boost the “celeb image” of his position; remodeling the Governor’s Manchin, that big white party tent that Phil Kabler never gets to go to (maybe he finally will when Manchin is in DC). Also, Governor Manchin and the boob tube were meant for each other; he’s easy on the eyes, articulate, and has that Clinton-esque charisma... And all eyes will be on him this afternoon at 2pm as he announces his appointee for Senator Byrd’s seat (Ahem, Carte Goodwin).

And one other point, while sitting in the Senate (@wvsenate) Judiciary meeting yesterday, I noticed only three senators in that meeting have twitter accounts: @Senator_Chafin, @Mike_Oliverio, and @JeffKessler4Gov).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WV Legislature’s Special Session on Byrd succession is one messy closet!

So WV Governor Manchin (@JoeManchinWV) thought amending WV Code would be easy... needles to say he opened the doors to one messy closet! A statement was just released that @JoeManchinWV will make an appointment to fill Senator Byrd’s seat at 2pm tomorrow, yet I just left a WV Senate (@wvsenate) Judiciary meeting where Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (@NatalieTennant) was being hounded by a couple senators about her first interpretation of the Code (section 3-10-3). According her her initial interpretation, the November 2nd General Election is a separate election from a proposed “Special Election” that would take place on the same day. So person could run for two different offices since the elections and ballots are separate.

I understand that @JoeManchin is feeling pressure from legislators in Washington, but Capitol Hill doesn’t understand that West Virginia is a whole different type of stiletto. When he announced he would appoint someone by this coming Friday (tomorrow), he felt his bill would be passed fairly easily through both the @wvsenate and the House (@wvhouse). But that just isn’t the case.

Why didn’t @JoeManchinWV have all this cleaned up or at least have a solid strategy in case something like this happened? That was the question on everyone’s mind at the legislature (@wvlegislature) today.

Late nights and flats...

If a bomb had dropped on Power Park last night, the West Virginia Democratic Party would look just like the West Virginia GOP. Practically every Democratic mover and shaker was there, and the media were asking questions and the cameras were recording. I wondered where the red carpet was! It was amazing how many cameras surrounded Governor Manchin when he was talking to Nick Casey. But within a matter of minutes, rumor had it that Nick Casey was second on Joe Manchin’s “list of two” for Byrd’s seat appointee options.

Carte Goodwin is who numerous elected officials told me last night Manchin would appoint to fill Byrd’s seat. We’ll know for sure by 5pm tomorrow for sure. Also, several legislators were discussing what to do after the election law is clarified for Byrd’s seat: aka what to do about West Virginia’s next governor! Obviously, current Senate President Tomblin would be acting governor. But this doesn’t help Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

And speaking of Capito, she’s in Charleston and has had numerous long-lasting meeting with her chief political consultant, Kent Gates. Before Byrd’s passing, I heard she was eager to see whether or not Senator Rockefeller would run for re-election in 2014. Her statements to date seem to be shaky and unsure, but I can’t tell if she’s waiting for a groundswell of Republican support or if she just doesn’t want to run against Manchin. If she does run against him for Byrd’s seat and loses (numerous polling show she will lose), she would be able to analyze those votes and see what areas of the state she needs to target stronger campaign efforts.

Within a matter of 36 hours, we’ll know who Governor Manchin is appointing, and I suspect the election law will be amended and we’ll know who is running for Byrd’s seat... and I imagine by the end of next week we’ll know who is running in a special election for Governor. There will many long hours at the Capital and many late night, closed-door discussions...I think I’ll have to wear flats.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sarah Palin: The Ultimate Retail Politician?

President Sarah Palin? All morning long I’ve heard about Sarah Palin; from the massive amount of money she’s spending on campaign consultants and contributions, to whether or not she will challenge Obama in 2012, to her daughter’s engagement (which is on the cover of US Weekly).

MSNBC’s Politico “Morning Joe” hosts talked about how great she is at facebooking and tweeting. For some reason, or many, Americans can’t seem to get enough of Sarah Palin. From

Barbies to books, this woman knows how to brand, market, and package herself: Sarah Palin is the poster child for retail politicians. Whether or not you like her politics doesn’t matter, because some other aspect of her life intrigues you. Social by design, the Sarah Palin brand continues to skyrocket, mixing politics with celebrity.

But I have to wonder, like all retail products, how much longer she has to go before her brand begins to decline. Is Sarah Palin’s brand unsustainable, like Obama’s campaign brand?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rep. Capito Laces Up Her Boots to Assess Afghan Strategy

Today’s Daily Mail discusses Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s , R-W.Va, recent overnight trip to Afghanistan, and I couldn’t help but notice that one of the photographs featured with the article showed her footwear,

In the world of politics, wearing the right footwear at the right time is critical. Politicians must know when to roll up their sleeves and dig into issues, no matter where their efforts may take them. In this case, Rep. Capito traversed her first overnight trip to a county where there is little economic development and an immense history of instability.

Senator Robert C. Byrd told Rep. Capito that, “West Virginia needs a work horse, not a show horse.” And while I might not see eye-to-eye with her on issues, I feel she has been quite a work horse for West Virginia, no matter if she’s wearing Stewart Weiztman’s around Capitol Hill or muddy boots around the Middle East.

For more on Rep. Capito’s trip to Afghanistan,

Friday, July 9, 2010

Eagle One and Eagle Two Are on the Move

“Eagle One and Eagle Two have landed...”

While sitting at Senator Byrd’s memorial service just one week ago today, I overheard one of the secret service men saying these words into a teeny tiny microphone on his jacket lapel. Assuming he was referring to President Obama and Vice President Biden, I asked him if former President Clinton had a code name.

“No, only the President and Vice President,” he retorted.

“Why Eagle One and Eagle Two? Do every U.S. President have the same bird?” I questioned.

According to the man with a microphone, an ear piece, and boring suit and sunglasses, every President chooses their code animal. If it were me, I’d choose Cheetah One. What would you chose?

After telling Mr. Secret Service this, he said with a smile, “I know who Cougar One would be...”

I’ll leave that one to your imagination...