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Gregory’s Web – May 5, 2024

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“The will of the voter is paramount.”

I heard then-Fayette County Clerk Kelvin Holliday say that years ago when a recount was ongoing in a State Senate race.

Of course, I’ve heard several variations with the same meaning proclaimed many other times. It wasn’t an original statement by Holliday, although he was a valued public servant and his comment had an effect.

Most election vote canvassers assert their agreement. Courts, too, routinely rule that if the intent of a legally-qualified voter can be determined, some failure to “dot every I and cross every T” can be ignored.

In the case of Jefferson County, however, there is no question about the will of the voters.

Jefferson voters were crystal clear in electing Tricia Jackson and Jennifer Krouse to terms on the five-member County Commission. Those terms are in progress.

A three-judge panel, however, has decided to override the will of the people. They’ve decided they, the county Prosecutor and three other County Commissioners are wiser than Jefferson voters.

Those who cherish a republican form of government respectfully disagree.

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It’s a bit difficult to explain how we even got to the point where a three-judge panel was appointed.

When Clare Ath resigned her Commission seat in June 2023, it set in motion procedures to choose a replacement. The four remaining Commissioners could not agree on whom to select, essentially deadlocking at 2-2.

That led to the next step in the replacement process with the county Republican Executive Committee (Ath was a member of the GOP) recommending three possible replacements.

While two remaining members – Steve Stolipher and Jane Tabb – were satisfied with the candidates suggested, Krouse and Jackson said that at least one was ineligible to be appointed.

What followed was a bit of a standoff. Stolipher, as President, kept trying to force the appointment of someone from the names submitted.

Jackson and Krouse would not participate in selecting a replacement from a list that included what they believed to be an ineligible candidate. The pair argued that state law regarding replacements was designed to accommodate three-member Commissions, not five.

In order to prevent the possible selection of the replacement, Krouse and Jackson announced they would not attend Commission meetings, thus depriving the group of a quorum to conduct business.

Although the pair attempted to explain their reasoning, opponents fashioned the situation to reflect the refusal of Jackson and Krouse “to do their jobs.”

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While public opinion may have been divided, officials such as Prosecutor Matt Harvey were highly critical of the duo. Eventually, a judge ordered Krouse and Jackson to resume attending meetings, which they did.

They kept insisting that the list was not in compliance with the law. Still, with the necessary quorum present, Jackson was forced into the replacement procedure with Stolipher and Tabb.

The end result was the appointment of Pasha Madji.

Nevertheless, although Krouse and Jackson complied with the court’s orders, the petition to remove them remained.

So a two-day dog and pony show was convened. After that, the panel rendered their decision last week, removing Krouse and.Jackson.

The two say they will appeal the decision. For now, there will be three members left with plans to appoint two replacements. 

Regardless who is appointed (unless it’s Krouse and Jackson), the people of Jefferson County will have had no input into who is representing them in those two seats.

With all due respect to the judges, they should never have been empowered to overrule the public. The members of the panel did not create the law; they are just responding to it.

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Daily it seems,we see the country slipping away from that republican form of government our forefathers gave us.

This is another horrible example.

* * * * * *

Sources have repeatedly told me to look into the lawsuits on file at the Lincoln County courthouse against Hamlin Mayor and Republican Delegate David “Flimsy” Adkins.

That’s a difficult task and it’s not that Lincoln officials are uncooperative.

While employees in both Brian Graley’s 

Circuit Clerk office and Kristy Scraggs County Clerk office were helpful, there is a problem that none of us could solve.

The problem? There really are too many Adkinses in Lincoln. I’d been told that all my life, particularly during my decade at The Lincoln Journal. Now I know it’s true.

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My first stop was the Circuit Clerk’s office to check on suits. Looking for David A. Adkins, the staff found three: two by Discover Bank and one by a different lender. The total judgments against Adkins in the three cases was about $40,000.

Since the suits naturally didn’t identify Adkins as Mayor or Delegate, we needed to confirm we were looking at the right Adkins. 

That led to the County Clerk to see if there was more than one David A. Adkins in the county. Lo and behold, there were two pages full!

Can you imagine living in a county with 20,000 total residents and two pages of them have the same name as you?

Oh well.

Next I hit upon the idea that worked – at least partially. I checked Adkins’ filing with the Secretary of State’s office. There, he listed his address. 

Hamlin doesn’t have street mail delivery so it’s possible all three suits are the Mayor’s. Still, only one listed the same address as his filing paperwork.

Always wanting to err on the side of caution, then, I can report there is just one lawsuit in which the Mayor is definitely the defendant and it’s for a little under $10,000 owed to Discover Bank.

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* * * * * *

Yes, Delegate, I’ve been sued for not paying bills myself.

* * * * * *

On the subject of Hizzoner Mayor Adkins, there are photos floating around of him driving the town police car with political signs in the rear. Some were clearly not taken within Hamlin town limits.

Voters might recall that it is Adkins who claims to be Hamlin Chief of Police, thus entitling him to badge, gun and use of the patrol car. He has driven the town police car to the capitol for legislative sessions.

* * * * * *

I’m not sure if it even can be done, but it’s obvious some candidate will have to go a long way to top Kanawha County Magistrate candidate Tressie Proffitt Cabell for wackiness.

Social media friends of her could have awakened at 3 am last Tuesday morning to a post that will take the prize. Incredibly, it stayed up for about seven hours.

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Cabell discussed numerous unsolved murders she’s solved on her own as a private detective.

While she was at it, Cabell spread some ridiculous rumors and attacked the Sheriff’s Department as inept.

Keep in mind that she’s a candidate for Magistrate, apparently subject to rules of judicial conduct.

If you didn’t see it, you missed a masterpiece.

It’s gone but not forgotten.

* * * * * *

US Attorney for the Southern District, Will Thompson, will join with law enforcement officials at 11 a.m., Monday, May 6.

They will provide an update regarding the ongoing major drug trafficking prosecution involving the largest methamphetamine seizure in West Virginia history.

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The event will be held on the fifth floor of the Robert C. Byrd US Courthouse in Charleston.

Thompson, one of the most respected Circuit Judges when he previously served in Boone County, is quietly doing quite a job as US Attorney.

One of the saddest consequences of President Trump being re-elected in November would be if he follows tradition and replaces Thompson with a Republican attorney.

Undoubtedly that’s what he would do.

* * * * * *

Everybody, it seems, loves polls. I’m not sure how elections were actually held before the advent of public opinion surveys.

Famously, the polls were wrong when they and the world proclaimed Thomas Dewey the winner over Harry S. Truman in 1948.

I don’t put as much stock in polls as some do. However, when all or even most surveys show the same thing, I give them a bit more credence.

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So now that every poll I’ve seen has former Kanawha Delegate Moore Capito leading the field for the Republican Governor nomination, I assume he’s leading with little more than a week to go. It’s a horse race between Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Huntington businessman Chris Miller for second.

It appears that the Attorney General races are over as well. State Auditor JB McCuskey is far in front of Kanawha Senator Mike Stuart on the GOP side. Wheeling lawyer Teresa Toriseva will defeat former South Charleston Mayor Richie Robb on the Democrat slate.

I’ve said before, Toriseva would be a breath of fresh air as AG.

Robb used to be a Republican and I worked for him decades ago when he ran for Congress against GOP Congressman, the late Mick.Staton.

The State Auditor Republican contest has Kanawha Senator Mark Hunt pulling away with ex-Jefferson Commissioner Jackson and Delegate Eric Householder battling for second.

It will be interesting to try to figure whether Jackson’s removal helps or hurts her in this race. Perhaps like many Trump supporters, Jackson will actually be seen as a martyr and pick up votes.

For Congress in the First District, all seem to agree that incumbent Republican Carol Miller will defeat political prisoner challenger Derrick Evans but not by much.

There’s no consensus as to who the Democrats will field in either district.

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Undoubtedly, Republican State Treasurer Riley Moore will cruise through the District Two Congressional primary. Included among the casualties there will be Alexander Gasserud, whose misapplication of lipstick onto his cheeks should make his commercials legendary.

Actually, I guess it could be Popcycle residue on the candidate’s cheek.

* * * * * *

I pointed out in an earlier column that once-solidly Democrat blue Lincoln County had switched to Republican red.

The state GOP points out that Lincoln is not the only one that changed six weeks ago.

Such diverse counties as Wetzel and Wyoming switched as well.

“Those who have followed West Virginia history and politics over the years understand how momentous it is to see so many counties that used to be regarded as Democrat strongholds flip to Republican,” the party declared in their monthly newsletter.

”West Virginia voters are leaving the Democratic Party because it no longer represents them or their values. Republican momentum is through the roof, and our Party’s demonstrated leadership and proven results continues to inspire confidence in West Virginia voters!” they added.

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Well, we’ll soon see about that, I guess. It will be fascinating to see if the vicious infighting within the party reflects negatively at the ballot box.

Of course Democrats left so many vacancies, particularly at the local level, it may be difficult to really tell.

* * * * * *

It was like old home week to visit friends and contacts in Boone, Logan and Mingo counties. I actually didn’t make it all the way to Williamson as I’d planned since the hospitality was so great I ran out of daylight.

I’ve already mentioned my preferences in most races down that way but one I left out is the District 34 House of Delegates race.

There are three Republicans running; incumbent Mark Dean, Big John White and Gavin Dillon.

Almost needless to say, I’d vote for White. He’s the nephew of former longtime Delegate Harry Keith White and his wife and also fellow Delegate Phyllis White.

HK, as most at the state.capitol know him, served with distinction as head of the House Finance Committee.

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Phyllis White is retired from a lengthy career as a teacher and principal.

It’s safe to say Delegate Dean has never impressed me.

I believe John White would deliver the kind of service to constituents his relatives did. Dean does not get near to equalling that.

So, give Big John a chance to serve the people of Mingo and West Virginia.

* * * “* *

Hang on to your seats. Next week is my prediction special where I’ll call – in advance ,– the results of the upcoming 

Primary. It puts readers in the forefront of political experts. Be here.

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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.

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