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Gregory’s Web – November 26, 2023

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It doesn’t matter who is in the room, former Eastern Panhandle Delegate S. Marshall Wilson’s self-assessment will conclude that he’s the smartest one there.

S. Marshall Wilson

Therefore, he was the brightest in attendance when he did a Governor campaign kickoff last week in the Eastern Panhandle.

The Martinsburg Journal reported on the event.

Wilson, you may recall, served two terms in the House of Delegates. He was elected both times as a Republican. To say he is far right wing is putting it mildly. On his voting record, there’s nothing but rock solid conservative credentials.

During 2019, while still representing the EP, Wilson left the GOP. He asked to continue caucusing with Republicans but was denied by party members.

Wilson is a missionary and just simply knows a lot more than the rest of us. He can lecture on virtually any subject, including politics and religion. He and his wife have nine children.

Wilson ran for the House in 2022 as an Americans Coming Together (ACT) party candidate but plans to represent the Constitution party this time. 

The candidate says he’ll see that the state and federal constitutions are strictly adhered to as Governor.

He told The Journal reshaping the government will require audits of each branch and all departments.

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His first target will be the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), he said.

“DHHR deals with the youngest, most powerless and least wealthy people,” Wilson said, “And so I think they’re the ones that deserve our attention first.”

He also plans to investigate why the state ranks so low on education issues.

Currently, West Virginia stands 47th in the nation in quality of education, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The West Virginia constitution says the state is required to provide a “thorough and efficient” system of free schools, Wilson pointed out.

Running on the ACT line a year ago, Wilson received 39.6% of the vote in a two-way race. That’s the best showing for a minor party nominee in West Virginia since 1906, according to the paper.

To appear on the 2024 ballot for Governor, he needs signatures from one percent of the voters in the last gubernatorial election. That’s about 8,000 names, Wilson said.

He told The Journal, “Right now, we’re getting there. I will definitely be on the ballot in November 2024. There’s no two-ways about that.”

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He said he already has nearly 3,000 signatures.

Seriously, there’s no doubt Wilson is intelligent and articulate. His personality is what sinks his electoral ship. 

He’ll keep the 2024 race interesting, if nothing else.

More information about Wilson and his campaign is available online at marshall4wv.com.


It is next to impossible to get agreement on political issues. However, on both sides of any aisle, politicians and citizens of all persuasions are united in their praise for President Jimmy Carter and the now-late First Lady Rosalynn Carter as decent human beings.

The Carter presidency won few admirers but there never was a doubt that they were outstanding people.

Rosalynn, who passed from us last week, and Jimmy were genuinely loved and admired by most Americans.

In their years in the White House as well as the nearly 50 years since, the Carters stood for honesty, integrity, decency and maintained a serious work ethic.

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President Carter’s labor with Habitat for Humanity is a lasting tribute to the kind of man he was.

The First Lady had just entered Hospice care, where her husband has been living for months.

It is a sad day in America as Rosalyn Carter is laid to rest. All honor is due her. 

Rest in Peace, kind lady.

There has always been a special place in President Carter’s huge heart for West Virginia.

I well recall the visits he had with West Virginia legislators, even after his White House years. 

The Plains, Georgia homestead always had the welcome mat out for Mountain State lawmakers.

I also recall how my friend and political consultant, Steve McElroy cherished his memories of visiting the Carters in Plains.

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McElroy posted a photo on social media of him and the First Lady when news of her passing arrived.


I visited with President Carter in the Oval Office in 1977.

I represented the City of Glenville as Mayor and The Glenville Pathfinder as Editor. 

As a gift, I presented Carter with a ceramics piece designed by the fabulous art professor Charles Scott of  Glenville State College (now University).

The Athens native put the Glenville College arts department on the world map with his talent and creations. He taught at Marshall prior to coming to Glenville.

Scott passed away two years ago at age 90.

Carter was as pleasant in person as he appeared on television.

The five others who visited him when I did were from various other parts of the country.

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I thought it was a bit ironic that Glenville’s first Republican Mayor was invited to the Oval Office by a Democrat.

We even received a national security briefing from Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor of the United States under Carter.

I understood about zero percent of whatever Brzezinski told us.

I do recall, however, that he had an aide who sat in a chair beside him.

When Brzezinski delivered a joke, the aide would nearly fall from his chair with laughter.

Frankly, I found the aide’s performance more entertaining than Brzezinski’s briefing.

As was typical of me, I rushed to the capitol and actually arrived about ten minutes late for the Carter meeting.

I hurried to find a parking spot and literally ran to the capitol.

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When the briefing was over, I realized that I had no idea where I had parked my vehicle.

After about two hours of walking around the capitol complex, I gave up and called the police.

I confirmed that the car had not been towed and asked for help.

In minutes, a DC policeman showed up and told me to get in with him.

“We’ll retrace how you got here this morning,” he said confidently. “It will come to you if we come into this area exactly like you did earlier.”

So we tried to follow the path I had followed. I wasn’t even sure about that. No doubt I had not a clue where I might have parked.

We made it to shift change and a different officer started driving me around.

Just as we passed a side street something finally clicked in my brain. “Here, here” I shouted. “I parked on this street,” I said excitedly.

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We turned onto the side street I pointed out to him and there sat my car. Not only was it safe and sound but it had not even gathered a parking ticket at its expired meter.

Needless to say, I thanked the officer profusely. 

I sort of doubt that an out-of-town man with a lost car would get that kind of treatment these days.


One major question regarding the naming of someone to fill the vacant County Commission seat in Jefferson County revolves around the correct procedure to be used.

Despite the fact that two of the state’s 55 counties have five members, the replacement process seems to have contemplated only the 53 counties with just three. The West Virginia Code language simply does not consider a five-member Commission.

As I’ve routinely mentioned here before, the Code provision sets up an odd replacement process, even for three Commissioner counties.

First, the remaining Commissioners can agree on a qualified person and simply appoint that one.

It’s seldom going to be that easy, however.

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So, if they can’t agree, the county Executive Committee of the departed member’s registered party recommends three names for consideration.

Then, according to the law, the longest-tenured remaining member strikes one of the three names as unacceptable. Next, the shorter-serving member removes a name.

Under this system, the remaining candidate becomes the new Commissioner. It’s a weird setup, but at least a new member is chosen.

Obviously, in the case I just described, the two sitting members both have a role in selecting their new colleague.

What about the five-member group, however? They appear to be governed by the same rules. 

By applying those steps, the shortest tenured two sitting members are removed from any part of the process since just two nominees must be eliminated. That seems unfair to me.

In a three-member Commission, the voters elect one member to a six-year term every two years.

In the Jefferson five-member system, both Steve Stolipher and Tricia Jackson were elected and began serving at the same time, though. Jennifer Krouse is the most recent elected Commissioner, meaning she has no vote on a replacement.

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Steve Stolipher

There’s no question Jane Tabb is the longest tenured. Therefore, she strikes first.

So which one is the second “longest serving?” Which one of them eliminates a name, since their terms are identical? Is it Jackson or Stolipher?

More importantly, why do the remaining two Commissioners (Krouse and either Jackson or Stolipher) have no say at all in the matter?

In theory, since each Commissioner  represents a different magisterial district, two-fifths of the county has no input into selecting the replacement. The other two-fifths do the appointing.

No wonder there are lawsuits, petitions and name-calling flying all over Jefferson County.

The Executive Committee provided just three candidates, as the Code prescribes. It would surely seem a five-County Commission should have five to choose from.

I said it before but I’ll advocate again. The Legislature needs to look at this entire procedure and make some logical changes.

Jackson and Krouse agree. Jackson told me she has spoken with one legislator who asked her to draw up language to address the problems with the present set-up.

She is working on that but noted that the Legislature is not scheduled to meet again until 2024.

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“What do we do in the meantime?” she asked, rhetorically. She and Krouse insist they will not attend sessions where the appointment is on the agenda “since there is no legal path outlined in the Code for us to follow.” 

They believe they might be considered to be involved in a conspiracy to circumvent the law if they participate as things stand now.


Keith Lowry is one of the three names submitted by the Jefferson Republican Executive Committee.

Keith Lowry

It is apparently Lowry who raises questions in the eyes of some as to whether he’s “qualified” to serve.

Lowry is director of Jefferson County Community Ministries, which apparently receives funding from the Commission. In fact, the $250,000 figure has been used by some who oppose Lowry’s appointment.

A few have suggested that if Lowry is on the Commission, he cannot vote on any budgetary matters since his organization receives a part of those funds. So is it legal or wise to appoint someone who may have to recuse himself from all budget votes?

Isabel Simon is another of those recommended by the Executive Committee.

She is Elliott Simon’s wife. He is a member of the Executive Committee that suggested the three names.

Despite admitting to some that he had an obvious conflict of interest, Elliott Simon participated in the selection process. So, another issue is raised.

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The third candidate is former state Legislative candidate Pasha Majdi. 

It is generally accepted that Lowry is pro-green energy. Simon is thought to be neutral on the issue.

Many think Majdi claims to be conservative but is actually a “greenie.”

Those same folks consider Majdi an opportunist. Before running for the West Virginia Legislature, he ran for Mayor of Vienna, Virginia.

One critic says Majdi was asked in a public forum if he supports the state Republican Party platform. “He said he does but it’s pro-coal and he’s definitely not,” the source said.

Stolipher’s choice for the fifth spot was thought to be Matt McKinney. He didn’t secure the required five votes to make the final cut. Four was McKinney’s high water mark.

Also not making the cut was Jack Hefesray, who has pre-filed for Commissioner in the 2024 election and reports $50,000 in campaign funds.

Solar power is the underlying issue in the fight to fill the fifth seat. Doctored photos of the Eastern Panhandle landscape covered in solar panels regularly appear on social media by those opposing them.

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* * * * * *

When those in public positions chose to vote by secret ballot it is always going to create controversy and confusion.

The reason we must guess if Stolipher voted for Matt McKinney or if Elliot Simon voted for his wife is because the group cast secret ballots.

According to members of the Committee, their bylaws require all voting to be open and public. That is as it should be.

Most of the current controversy could have been avoided with an open, public vote.

It took three rounds of voting for the three finalists to be selected. All were conducted by secret ballot.


Republican Governor candidate Rashida Yost remains convinced that a sexist conspiracy exists in the race for Governor.

The players in that possible scheme are also not publicly known but Yost says she has an idea.

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Since she has been excluded from an early December debate on WVMetroNews, Yost says radio host Hoppy Kercheval clearly believes a woman is not qualified to be Governor.

“He uses the term ‘viable’ and says I’m not a ‘viable candidate,’” she said last week.

Rashida Yost

“But he says the four men in the race are all ‘viable.’ In other words, men can be Governor but women can’t be.”

Yost reasons that the four male candidates must be involved in the plan. She singled out two.

First, Yost says Secretary of State Mac Warner, one of the male candidates “stole” her campaign slogan.

“The day I filed, I said it was ‘family first,’ Yost explained. “That was about a year ago.”

Last week, Yost said, “I woke up, turned on my computer and Mac Warner’s website said he is ‘family first.’ 

I’d like to be in that debate and ask him if it took a year for him and his high-paid staff to come up with what my volunteers and I figured out on day one.”

Yost added that she has not personally experienced it, but she’s been told by many of her supporters that Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, another candidate, has made negative comments about a woman being qualified to be Governor.

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Also, Yost says polling of the Governor’s race has often not included her name.

“One poll last week listed the four men (beside Warner and Morrisey, Kanawha County Delegate Moore Capito and Huntington businessman Chris Miller are running) and ‘other candidate,’” she said.

The poll she references is the WMOV poll led by political guru and station owner Tom Susman.

“I guess I’m rated as ‘other candidate,”’ she added.

Yost had a challenge for all the men. “Show the world you’re not prejudiced against females,” she said. “Demand that Hoppy Kercheval put me in the debate and that the polls list my name with theirs.”

There’s no doubt in my mind that Yost could handle the Governor job.

Meet her and you’re likely to agree.

Yost is the only female candidate after Terri Bradshaw of Roane County withdrew last week. 

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Bradshaw is now running for Magistrate.


Although Republican Delegate Chris Pritt of Kanawha County was still listed as a Secretary of State candidate at the end of the week, friends said he is withdrawing from that race.

Chris Pritt

According to those sources, Pritt believes former state Republican Chair Kris Warner is about to jump into the primary. With former Kanawha Delegate Doug Skaff also running, Pritt apparently decided the field is too crowded with Kanawha candidates.

Those sources said they expect Pritt now to run for re-election. I really can’t verify that since Pritt failed to respond to calls and text messages last week.

Kenny Mann, former Delegate Ken Reed and Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood are also seeking the GOP nomination for Secretary of State.

* * * * * *

The Jefferson Commission vacant seat was filled by Charles Town Magisterial District representative, Clare Ath.

However, two of the three nominees do not live in that district. Simon and Majdi are from Harpers Ferry. 

The Executive Committee cited an opinion by Morrisey a few years ago that said replacement Commissioners do not have to come from the same district as the person they replace.

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That seems to conflict with the Code requirement that no more than one Commissioner can serve from any magisterial district. There are five districts in Jefferson.

Morrisey’s opinion, which does not have the force of law, dealt with a three-member Commission, of course.

Jefferson Commissioner Tabb was once a Republican but is now registered independent, according to courthouse sources.

“She hates Donald Trump,” one source said. “She’s in the pocket of the solar power people.”

Those sources guessed Tabb would vote to eliminate Simon from consideration as a replacement.

Those sources said if they were right and Tabb voted to strike Simon, the second Commissioner voting (either Stolipher or Jackson) would be left with eliminating “either a RINO (Majdi) or one with a conflict of interest (Lowry).”

That would be an interesting choice, I suppose.


By the way, State Treasurer and Congressional candidate Riley Moore is a member of the Jefferson Executive Committee. Hopefully, he can steer clear of this controversy.

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Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ron.gregory@wvstatewide.com

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  • Staff Writer

    From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting “Staff Writer” indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.

From the WV Statewide News Team. Articles depicting "Staff Writer" indicate the content was prepared by several members of the news team.