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OpEd: Eric Tarr Hums a Conservative Tune Because He Doesn’t Know The Words



Robert Karnes

I was recently made aware of an Op-Ed by Eric Tarr in which he referred to myself and Delegate Evan Worrell as “anti-business.” 

This of course would surprise everybody who knows me, as well as anybody who has seen my record. After years of being rated 90% to 100% by virtually every business organization in WV, my score has suddenly dipped below 50% with the WV Chamber and the WVMA. 

How did that happen?

First understand, I am not the only one. EVERY reliable social conservative in the WV House and Senate was downgraded by both organizations. For years, both organizations have quietly fought for abortion, against religious freedom, and in favor of radical trans ideology among other far-left initiatives. Historically they supported pro-business conservatives like myself, Senator Rucker, Coal mining Senator Randy Smith, Mark Maynard, and Patrick Martin, leaving their extreme leftwing ideology out of rankings.

This year, working with senate leadership, both organizations hand-selected bills with the purpose of downgrading social conservatives who vote their principles. 

First was the Form Energy Bill HB 2882.

HB 2882 gave $300,000,000 in WV taxpayer money to a green energy company, that according to its CEO, is dedicated to destroying the coal and natural gas industries in West Virginia. The backers of Form Energy, it was revealed, included liberals like Bill Gates & Warren Buffet and the Chinese Communists. 

The “promise” of Form Energy was to create 700 jobs in Weirton. These jobs cost $430,000 each. Recent stories have emerged that Form Energy is holding job fairs in Ohio and Pennsylvania but not so much in WV and with Weirton a stone’s throw from OH and PA it is becoming obvious these $430,000 jobs are for people living in OH and PA.


It is worth noting that almost half of the current budget surpluses in WV are coming from the severance taxes on coal & natural gas and more than 65,000 West Virginians work directly or indirectly in these industries.

In the Senate, votes against giving $430,000 jobs to Pennsylvanians & Ohioans, votes against giving a $300,000,000 gift to the Chinese Communists, votes against an attempt to destroy 25% of the West Virginia economy, votes against financial stability for WV were DOUBLE weighted negatively by the WV Chamber of Commerce.

Next was HB 3270 an attempt to repeal our state’s Deliberate Intent statute.

Deliberate Intent refers to cases where an employer removes safety equipment, puts untrained employees in dangerous work environments, or fails to follow basic safety procedures and as a result of these actions or failures, an employee is injured or killed.

This used to be a major source of sue and settle claims in WV. In 2015, I worked with industry, legal professionals, and members of the House and Senate to craft a solution to this problem. That solution eliminated 80% of the Deliberate Intent claims by setting reasonable standards for what constitutes “Deliberate Intent” and by requiring Deliberate Intent cases be reviewed by an independent professional before the case can even be filed.

The WV Chamber of Commerce is hellbent on preventing the very small minority of business owners, who deliberately create dangerous conditions where workers are injured or killed, from being held liable.

Senators who voted to hold these bad actors accountable were given TRIPLE weighted negative scores by the WV Chamber.

When it turned out that using this very slanted method to try to paint social conservatives as “anti-business” didn’t do enough damage to conservatives, the WV Chamber created new categories not related to specific bills. 


One was essentially the blind allegiance category. Anybody not willing to blindly follow leadership on these and other bills received an additional TRIPLE weighted negative. 

The other was a very subjective “business engagement” rating, also TRIPLE weighted. Most of the senators and delegates receiving a low score in this category have, like I do, an open-door policy. Anybody coming to my office is welcome to come in to discuss any issue before the legislature. Throughout a typical session, dozens or hundreds of people and business owners, do just that. 

Obviously these last two categories, both brand new for the 2024 election, are extremely subjective, there are no published objective criteria showing how scores are calculated, and they were clearly created for the purpose of diminishing the pro-business scores of conservative legislators when our actual voting records are very pro-business, pro-growth and pro-job.

The result of this hit job on conservative senators is simply this, not one senator who voted against sexually mutilating and chemically castrating children as young as 10 received a 100% pro-business voting record. 

The average score for senators who voted to protect children was under 60%. The average score for senators voting in favor of sex changes for kids was over 90% with 14 of them receiving perfect 100% scores from the WV Chamber. 

It is worth noting the average DEMOCRAT was scored nearly 80% by the WV Chamber and we all know how “pro-business” the Democrats were when they ran the WV economy into the ditch.

In his attacks on conservatives, by calling anti-corruption Republicans, “anti-business,” Tarr shows his preference for the far-left liberal policies & politicians preferred by the WV Chamber.

Tarr claims to be a real conservative while he has spent this year recruiting and funding liberal democrats and RINO Republicans who are running against genuine conservative Republican Senators. 


A few examples.

He helped recruit a candidate against Senator Patricia Rucker, the author of most of the School Choice legislation passed in recent years. Everything from charter schools to the Hope Scholarship came out of Rucker’s Education Committee and she was the lead sponsor of Amendment 1 to the West Virginia Constitution which made clear West Virginia is a pro-life state.

He helped recruit and fund my primary opponent, who is a lifelong liberal Democrat. Tarr plays the conservative but supports a guy who stood with Biden, Hillary, Obama, and Al Gore. I am regularly rated as the most conservative senator by groups like CPAC and 1st Sergeant’s Guide. I have perfect 100% scores from the NRA, WVCDL, and WVian’s for Life.

Tarr also continues to stand with Senator Mike Maroney. When he shows up, and when he isn’t sleeping on the senate floor, Maroney votes to advance the radical gay rights agenda, opposes true pro-life measures and supports forced COVID-19 vaccines. His opponent, Chris Rose, is a solid pro-business conservative. Chris is a coal miner and electrical lineman working to keep the lights on for WV. Why would Tarr support a left-of-center Republican, twice arrested for soliciting prostitutes, instead of supporting a coal miner and power company worker like Chris Rose? Because Chris Rose went on the record saying he would not support the current corrupt Senate leadership.

In addition to his recruiting efforts, campaign finance records show that Tarr has personally funded the campaigns of these liberal democrats and RINOs as long as they swear allegiance to the Blair/Tarr machine. Tarr and Blair don’t want Senators that represent their districts. They demand everyone show allegiance to them personally or face a liberal primary opponent.

It isn’t just this year, Tarr has a history, in prior elections, of supporting “former” Democrat candidates. In the Senate these former democrats have all voted in favor of chemically castrating and sexually mutilating children. They have voted against pro-life legislation. They have all supported higher taxes.

If you are a Republican, the “tune” is the Republican Party platform.

Tarr attacks Republicans like myself, Rucker, Smith, Worrell, and others who have a 99% record of support for the Republican Party platform, while supporting “former” Democrats and RINOs that support the Democrat Party platform 90% of the time.


The fundraiser Tarr refers to wasn’t held to support conservative Republicans, it was held to support only the candidates who support the corrupt machine running the West Virginia Senate. I won’t see money from that fundraiser, Rucker, Smith, Rose, and Martin will all be overlooked when the money is spent.

Eric Tarr hums a conservative tune because he doesn’t know the words. 

If he truly wants to advance a conservative, pro-family, pro-job agenda he needs to stop attacking conservatives, stop funding liberal political candidates, and learn the words so he can join the conservative chorus. 

  • – Senator Robert Karnes, 11th District

This is an op-ed provided by the author. The opinions expressed in the op-ed may not align with the editorial or publishing team at WV Statewide News. Op-ed submissions are welcomed by the public by emailing

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