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Gregory’s Web – December 25, 2022

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Ron Gregory Political Columnist - WV Statewide News

Gregory’s Web for 12/25/2022

by Ron Gregory

It has been my goal as a journalist to keep personal information just that: personal. In other words, I doubt that readers of this website are looking for the latest updates on my personal situations. If you really want to know how the grandchildren are, send me a private message or call.

Readers want to know what’s really going on in the political realm not how I’m feeling today. At least that’s how I’ve always approached it.

But at this holiday time, I feel a special need to thank God and some wonderful people for where I am today.

Regular readers could sense that something was amiss this year from.March onward. I had many inquiries about it with kind folks offering to help with any need.

I’m still not going to bore you with details but suffice it to say I was in a car accident in March.

After that, I was hospitalized and eventually sent to the Pocahontas Center, an extended care facility in Marlinton. After a few weeks there, I was transferred to the Marmef Center, a similar institution but three hours closer to home. Care for my health and physical rehabilitation were the primary goals at those places.

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To say the folks at both facilities were caring and supportive is a massive understatement. These are compassionate people with genuine concern for their patients – or “tenants” as they call them.

The long and short of it is that I am now once again living independently and no.longer require their care. That was the goal when I got there and we have now crossed the goal line in record time.

So at this season, I just wanted to give a salute to those who helped me. Special thoughts for those who must work the holidays to assure their patients … er, tenants get the quality care they always receive. There’s seldom a break for these professionals.

I won’t pick any one out for special recognition but there are many who deserve gold star awards. Each of them already know how much they are appreciated. I am forever grateful that they were made a part of my life, even if just for a short time. I learned valuable lessons at both places as well as Charleston Area Medical Center and Thomas Memorial Hospital.

Thanks to a merciful God and to all these wonderful people. I offer my sincerest praise and thanks today and every day.

* * * * * *

I promise not to discuss this again, but I hope my recovery and return to normalcy is an inspiration to anyone who thinks being placed in a nursing facility is the end of independent living.

Clearly it wasn’t for me. Early on, I had depressing days that caused me to doubt my potential for recovery. But God and the staffs always lifted me from the doldrums with encouraging words and deeds.

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Many times while I was struggling to walk, a staffer would lend extra support both mentally and physically.

Have I mentioned how I praise God for looking over me?

And thanks to you readers and listeners of the Tom Roten Morning Show for your support and encouragement. Even if I never say it, it is appreciated.

* * * * * *

My professional opinion has always been that one cannot start a political campaign too soon. Numerous 2024 candidates seem intent on proving me wrong.

Congressman Alex Mooney barely let the ink dry on his

re-election ballots before he was boldly announcing a run for the U.S. Senate in two years. That’s the position now held by Democrat Joe Manchin.

I’ve already predicted Manchin’s re-election so there’s no need to go over that now. Mooney has finally miscalculated the gullibility of West Virginia voters

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There are various reasons why candidates announce early. The most obvious one is to keep others from running. 

Pardon me for saying so, but I doubt that Mooney’s announcement keeps even one other candidate out of the race.

On paper, at least, he is not an overwhelmingly formidable candidate.

* * * * * *  

When I wrote last week about a possible Manchin-Jim Justice showdown for Senate, one reader speculated that the Democrat will retire without seeking re-election.

My reader said Manchin’s retirement would take political genius Larry Puccio from the dilemma of who to support. In that case, he could simply work for Justice.

But I responded that will never happen unless Manchin loses his good health before 2024.

* * * * * *

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Lots of readers have asked what plans outgoing GOP Congressman David McKinley might have. It was he who lost the Republican primary to Mooney when redistricting occurred.

I have no idea what the Congressman may be thinking. We’ve never been buddies. He could permanently retire, of course. He’s a few years beyond retirement age. 

But in the crowded 2024 Republican gubernatorial field, McKinley would stand a real chance. He’s an establishment candidate, far less rigidly conservative than several who will be running. By getting a lion’s share of the moderate vote, he could be the nominee.

As illustrated by his loss to Mooney, McKinley would have to do better with conservative Trump Republicans in November to win that race.

On the other hand, McKinley could decide to reclaim his congressional seat. That, too, would be an uphill battle against State Treasurer Riley Moore, who has already announced his congressional bid.

Moore is the odds-on favorite to follow his grandfather and aunt’s steps to Washington. In a race with McKinley, Moore would also have the more conservative base.

Many forget that the iconic Governor Arch A. Moore Jr. was a legendary First District Congressman before running for governor in 1968.

Speculating is fun in politics.

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* * * * * *

Speaking of McKinley potentially trying to reclaim his seat in congress reminds me how rare such an attempt would be.

Former Democrat Congressmen Alan Mollohan, Harley “Buckey” Staggers Jr. and Nick Joe Rahall just simply retired after losing re-election. Many times since, each one would have been the strongest candidate Democrats could field but they choose not to run.

Any one of them could have been elected secretary of state several times since losing office.

Do you figure current GOP Congresswoman Carol Miller would have been more concerned about re-election if Rahall was her opponent?

How about Mooney? Would Mollohan or Staggers have make his re-eiection less automatic? Of course either would have done so.

It would surely be interesting to see any of the former reps back in action. But don’t expect to. They’ve all told me they’ve run their last races

* * * * * *

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I was talking with Rahall some years ago and launched into a segment where I told him what a servant of the people he’d been. I followed with a passionate appeal that he consider running again sometime.

He patiently heard me out then laughingly said, “Ron if I decide to run again, you’ll be the first to know.”

He paused, then grinned.

“But don’t stay awake at night waiting for the call.”

I’d say he’s not running any more.

* * * * * *

The state’s other short time Democrat Congressman, former Charleston Mayor John Hutchinson, would always have been a formidable candidate as well.

Only serving a year as long time Congressman John Slack’s replacement was also apparently enough for Hutchinson.

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It’s amazing how things can change. He was a rising star before losing his seat to Republican Mick Staton.

Ironically, Staton only served one term before losing to future Democrat Governor Bob Wise.

Staton remained out of elective politics as well after losing to Wise.

* * * * * *

The announcement session by Secretary of State Mac Warner should draw a crowd if only potential candidates to replace him attend. 

If Warner doesn’t use the January 10 event to announce he’s running for governor in 2024, we’ll all be shocked. After all, what’s the purpose in having an event if he’s not going for the top job?

There’s too much political brain power in the Warner family to call a meeting to announce nothing. 

It will not be like Moore Capito’s “big announcement” at the Greenbrier when he forgot to announce anything.

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* * * * * *

My gift to you: a  shorter than normal column today. Hope all is Merry and Bright.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185; ronjoegregory@gmail.com; or PO Box 20297, Charleston, WV 25362. 

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  • Ron Gregory

    From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia – Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state. View all posts

From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia - Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state.