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Editorial

Gregory’s Web – March 26, 2023

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Ron Gregory Political Columnist - WV Statewide News

Another week and President Trump is still a free man.

Why he wouldn’t be is simply the cabal that’s been after him forever would have succeeded. Which they’ve yet to do.

There are those, like my good friend Greg Lipscomb, who think Trump announced his own impending indictment prematurely just to raise money from his legions of supporters. 

If so, it worked.

He reportedly raised $1.5 million, which is a three-day record.Theres a chance, of course, that nobody has looked into Trump’s brain deep enough to find the real reason he announced an arrest that was not to be.

Trump loves publicity and he simply MUST be the center of attention. That announcement assured him of that requirement for at least a week.

Perhaps that’s all there is to it. Frankly, nothing else explains it except the fund raising angle. He’s proven he can raise big money without threatening his pending arrest. So it was really unnecessary for that purpose.

Lipscomb may have it analyzed better than I but ego, oddly placed, is my answer to the nagging question, “why. Mr. President, why?”

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Two years out of office and there’s never a news cycle without him. One can hardly find any other ex-president in the news.

Where are Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush anyway? Stranded with the Minnow on some deserted island?

So the speculation is rampant but why a politician wants to publicize his own coming indictment remains unclear.

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It reminds me of the local officeholder who sent his political strategist to tell then-political gossip columnist supreme Fanny Seiler of his looming indictment.

When I asked him why he did that, he explained that Seiler would publicize it before it happened along with his explanation that it was “purely political.”

Then when it occurred, voters would simply say, “just politics” and wave it off.

I told the man I thought that was foolish and only made ANY sense if he was 100% sure the charges were coming. 

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Tears welled in his eyes. “Oh it’s 100%,” he said. “The grand jury in Beckley has already issued it. It’s just a question of when they serve it.”

You’ve likely guessed the conclusion to the story. He was never indicted but paid the price for his stupidity by losing re-election. 

Most thought publicizing a phantom indictment of himself cost him the race. I’d definitely say it didn’t help.

* * * * * *

On the subject of human reactions to situations, it was fascinating to watch the local news media descend on Charleston’s federal building when word that dozens of FBI licensed cars had surrounded it.

There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that the noose was tightening around the necks of wayward State Police officers.

These were the officers identified by an anonymous whistleblower as having allegedly committed financial and moral crimes while on duty.

Social media quickly joined the news teams and the race for breaking headlines began. They all awaited the arrival of the first officer in full uniform escorted in handcuffs to the door.

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None appeared.

Instead federal agents began a procession of accused drug dealers. It was the biggest bust in history but not a single State Policeman or woman appeared with arms behind their backs. With the adrenaline drop 

when we figured out it was a cut and dry drug story rather than a State Police expose, it’s a wonder any of us managed to put a story together.

That includes me, who definitely thought it was the officers who would appear in shackles. Drugs? Who cares?

* * * * * *

Not really. Everyone SHOULD care about drugs ruining lives and transforming society.

The record drug bust SHOULD be just as important – or more so – than State Police shenanigans. Unfortunately, it was a letdown to many reporters when they found out “it’s only about drugs again.”

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I had a nice chat with former Kanawha County Republican Delegate Larry Pack this past week. He’s now an assistant to Governor Justice, working extra hard the past session on tax legislation.

He’s also the Republican National Committeeman.

A highly successful businessman, he’s eyeing statewide office next year. Pack said he expects to make a decision on which office he’s seeking by the end of the month.

He’s obviously looking at Secretary of State and Auditor. Both will be open seats with the incumbents (SOS Mac Warner and Auditor JB McCuskey) running for governor.

State Treasurer is coming open with incumbent Riley Moore running for congress. But some sources say Pack has heard from Kanawha State Senator Eric Nelson, who will file for Treasurer presumably with Moore’s support.

Pack will not take on Nelson, the thinking goes. That would split the Kanawha vote and likely make both losers. That leaves Pack running for Auditor or SOS. He also has the resources to run a long-shot campaign for governor.

Nelson has the funding too and would be the favorite overall for Treasurer. 

I mentioned last week that Kanawha is not big enough to.split its vote down the middle and still win.

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Writing off the top of my head, it’s  fascinating to think how these GOP candidates might align themselves, especially behind the scenes. 

When Governor Justice gets in the U.S. Senate race, who will he be for in the Treasurer race, for example? Or will he take wise advice and appear to be neutral?

Will everyone try to run independent campaigns or might we have a “slate” or two of candidates?

I’ve mentioned that, with Justice for Senate and Capito for Governor, the uniting spirit of their political genius Larry Puccio might create some sort of bond between those campaigns

It might make some sense for the GOP’s two Eastern Panhandle giants, Morrisey and Alex Mooney to team up for Governor and U.S. Senate respectively

Treasurer Moore, another huge factor in the east, is unlikely to join a team approach since he’s running for federal office (Congress) and wants everyone’s help.

The possibilities are endless.

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* * * * * *

Joseph E. Barki III has prefiled for judge in the First CircuIt, which essentially means Wheeling.

He is the longtime prosecutor. All his ads emphasize his prosecutorial skill. Running.for judge may be time for a fairness  theme if he hopes to win a seat next year.

It didn’t work for Sheriff Taylor to be both Sheriff and Justice of the Peace in Mayberry; it might not work with voters to be judge and prosecutor in Wheeling.

* * * * * *

The Mac Warner for Governor campaign will celebrate the formation of a new veterans coalition Monday at 4 pm. Attendees should gather on the Kanawha Boulevard side of the capitol.

The “Veterans Families for Mac” coalition will be led by Brigadier General John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, Jr., US Army, Retired.  

General Bahnsen, a resident of Hancock County, is also a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He’s a highly decorated combat soldier and recognized as an air cavalry tactics pioneer.  General Bahnsen is currently the most decorated veteran living in West Virginia.

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The event follows the theme I suggested a few weeks ago, emphasizing Warner’s and his family’s devotion to the military. Not a bad idea in patriotic West Virginia.

Corralling the veterans could catapult Warner toward the top in  that Republican.primary battle.

In keeping with the military theme, Warner noted it’s been 25 years since a veteran served as the state’s governor.

That would have been Republican Cecil Underwood, who was in the Army Reserves during World War II.

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One capitol regular suggested that if Senate President Craig Blair runs short of sergeants at arms for tossing out errant members, he has a ready, qualified replacement. 

They say Democrat Senator Mike Caputo of Marion County has “door experience.”

It was Caputo, then a delegate, who kicked that chamber’s door in when an assistant doorman tried to keep him from entering.

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The doorman was injured in the 

 fracas and Caputo eventually apologized.

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But even he, whose victim was physically injured, never was removed from the floor. Injuring an innocent doorman is apparently not as egregious as upsetting the Senate President.

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Democrat Randall Douglas Fowler has prefiled for State Senate. The only information seemingly available about him is that he attended a U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Digital Transformation.Summit” in Washington, D.C. He says he applauded when a speaker praised his hometown for its “turnaround.”

He’s welcome to call me if he has a bigger story to tell.

Joshua Mathis, a Republican, has filed for State Senate. He’s running for one of the Cabell-

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Wayne County seats. Conservative and strongly pro-military, he only lost last time by 133 votes. He’s never stopped campaigning.

Speaking of Senator Robert Karnes, the Republican has filed to hold onto his Randolph/Upshur seat. 

GOP leadership may recruit an opponent for Karnes, who they consider a thorn in their side.

Kanawha Republican State Senator Eric Nelson, who I mentioned earlier, prefiled for an undisclosed office. I

As I said, the consensus last week was that he’ll run for State Treasurer. That’s the job being given up by Riley Moore to run for congress.

Nelson is a key architect of state finances and would be ideally qualified to be treasurer.

* * * * * *

Evelyn Raeann Osborne has prefiled for Mercer Family Court judge. She is a Princeton 

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attorney.

Coal’s best friend, Senator Rupert Phillips, Jr. has prefiled for another term in his Logan-based district. He has dedicated his career to support coal, much to the chagrin of The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

* * * *

If he follows through and files, there will be no better qualified candidate for Secretary of State than Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood.

He prefiled for the position recently but tells me he has not decided to.run for sure.

Wood and his office are models of efficiency. They are regularly pointed to as an example of how a clerk office should operate.

Wood inherited an office far behind the times technologically and went to work immediately to bring it to the cutting edge.

Wood also improved employee morale and made dealing with the office a pleasure and not a task. The transformation is now complete.

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Here’s hoping, then, that Wood actually files in January 2024. He’s a good guy.

* * * *.* *

On the subject of everybody and his brother thinking State Police were going to be hauled in, would it be a surprise if that happened?

We were told by Governor Justice that the investigation.was over more than a week ago. He made ominous predictions about what a “bad day it will be for a lot of people.”

So if the report is done, what are we waiting on? Is it being translated into King James English? Will it be like our billion dollar deal with China and never see the light of day?

So the new week begins with us waiting on Trump and the State Police. Wow.

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

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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.

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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.