WHEELING, W Va – WVGOP Chairwoman Elgine McArdle said she “will soon relinquish my leadership position in the West Virginia Republican Party. Effective upon the adjournment of our Winter Meeting and following the election of my successor on January 20, 2024, I will share the reasons for my difficult decision to relinquish my leadership position in the West Virginia Republican Party.”
That reason is speculated to be McArdle’s intent to run for one of the five open non-partisan seats for Intermediate Court Judge.
This year will be the first time voters choose Intermediate Court Judges since the appeals court was created by the legislature.
In what appears to be a coordinated effort for McArdle to influence her successor, current Finance Chair, Matt Herridge of Parkersburg sent a letter soliciting support for his candidacy, outlining the principles of the GOP and discussing his plans, if elected.
Herridge describes himself as a “small business owner and Republican advocate in Wood County.” Herridge is the owner/operator of Charton Management, which operates Burger King and Qdoba franchise restaurants in the Parkersburg area. He worked for several years with the National Franchise Association at the federal level advocating for pro-business legislation and was involved in fundraising for their PAC.
In an interview with WV Statewide News, Herridge described himself has being “100% behind President Trump” and focused on “electing Republicans at every level”. We asked him the simple and direct question, “What are you going to do differently?”.
Herridge responded,”it has been my experience that sales solve all kinds of problems” and he expanded on his commitment to increase fundraising and engage voters of every age across the state. He went on to explain he intends to learn more about any issues that are causing fractures in the party and has a simple approach to addressing the issues head-on, “First – we must recognize the issue, Second, we must have the confidence to fix it, and Third, we need a motivating event – or a kick in the pants, if you will – to make that change happen.”
When asked about the issue of RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) now running for statewide election after switching parties – Herridge said that he believed strongly in the values and platform of the Republican party and that if primary voters fail to sort through the candidates he intends to take a Reagan-like approach to uniting all of the players for the good of the party.
“I love God, I love my family, and I love America. It’s why I have been proudly involved in supporting and electing conservative Republicans in West Virginia for many years.”
Herridge went on to praise McArdle and said the outgoing Chair supports his candidacy.
“I pledge to work as tirelessly to defend our great Grand Old Party as Elgine has. Further, my pledge to you as I run to finish Elgine’s term is to continue her leadership,” Herridge states. “I will not make grandiose changes to the executive committee, its committees or the staff. I seek
only to keep moving the ball forward and lead us to great victories in 2024.”
McArdle became Chair after the term of Mark Harris, who was selected in a disputed vote.
The WVGOP Co-Chair would normally fill a vacant seat on the executive committee. That position is currently held by Putnam County’s Tony Hodge.
Sources say Hodge can not hold the position because of his role as a federal employee and the possibility that fundraising (a key component of the position) would create a Hatch Act Violation for Hodge.
Hodge said in a prepared statement, “As you may be aware, our Bylaws do not tether the Co-Chair position to the Chair, except for the requirement that the Co-Chair must be of the opposite sex of the Chair. Despite the possibility of retaining my Co-Chair role after Chairwoman McArdle’s announcement, my intention is to step aside if a male is elected as State Chairman. In such a scenario, I plan to vacate the Co-Chair office at the Winter Meeting’s adjournment, allowing the new Chairman to appoint a new Co-Chair, as outlined in the Bylaws. I have discussed this with Chairwoman McArdle and she has accepted these terms.”
The WVGOP Winter Meeting is scheduled for January 20th at The Four Points Sheraton in Charleston. Rules governing the administration of a party election are proposed and adopted prior to the election and at the meeting, and typically all nominations may simply be made from the floor and must be seconded.
During the past decade, the Republicans have gone from the relatively ineffective state minority to super-majority status.
The GOP holds two of the three federal Congressional seats, all statewide Executive positions including Governor and super-majorities in both houses of the state Legislature.
WV Statewide will cover the January 20 GOP meeting, which will be held in Charleston.