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Governor election days away

By Staff | Sep 30, 2011

With the special election for governor taking place Oct. 4, campaigners describe the work they’re doing to get votes in the Eastern Panhandle.

According to acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s campaign spokesman, Chris Stadelman, Tomblin remains confident that he will do well in the Eastern Panhandle despite narrowing poll numbers.

According to a public policy poll released Sept. 6, Tomblin leads Maloney by six points.

Stadelman described the race so far as “a tough one,” though he pointed to a large number of undecided voters who could help carry Tomblin.

“It’s going to be a close race,” he said.

Despite close numbers, Stadelman said the Tomblin campaign is positive about the work it has done to reach out to voters in the Eastern Panhandle.

“(Tomblin) has a good feel for issues over there,” he said.

Stadelman pointed to recent visits by the governor to the Eastern Panhandle as examples of Tomblin’s interest in the area.

“We understand that the Eastern Panhandle is critical,” he said.

Early voting for the governor’s race began Sept. 21 and will continue through Oct. 1.

As of Sept. 26, 515 people casted ballots in Jefferson County, according to numbers from the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office.

Tomblin won Jefferson County in the Democratic primary last spring with 834 votes, more than twice that of his Democratic rivals.

Republican challenger Bill Maloney received 295 votes in the county in May’s primary, less than Larry Faircloth and Betty Ireland, who led Jefferson County in votes.

Five candidates in total will be on the ballot for the special election Tuesday, including Bob Henry Baber of the Mountain Party, Henry Bertram of the American Third Position and Marla Ingels, an Independent.

Mountain Party candidate Baber stopped in Shepherdstown on Tuesday for a book signing and rally and offered his thoughts on the governor’s race as a third-party candidate.

Baber called the Eastern Panhandle “an important and wonderful part of West Virginia.”

Baber, whose son briefly attended Shepherd University, described the area as “a natural constituency for me.”

“People here are very progressive and green thinking,” he said.

Baber, who has previously served a mayor of Ridgewood, W.Va., said he wants to offer voters a progressive position he feels is missing in the two major party candidates.

“In this election, there is no Democrat running …Tomblin’s policy is indistinguishable from Maloney,” he said.

Baber said he hopes to appeal to the interest of the “common people.”

“I’m for West Virginia, for West Virginians,” he said.

According to Stadelman, Tomblin will work to continue to support job creation in the Eastern Panhandle and plans to work with the people of Shepherdstown specifically on issues associated with parking.

Of the upcoming vote on Oct. 4, Stadelman said, “We’re certainly optimistic.”

According to the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, polls for the general special election will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Despite efforts, candidate Bill Maloney’s campaign could not be reached for comment by press time.