In West Virginia, third parties could play election spoiler

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) –With election day just around the corner, even independent, third-party and write-in candidates are campaigning for votes in West Virginia.

In the race for West Virginia governor, one could say there’s a spoiler on the ballot. In the Mountain State more than one in five voters say they do not identify with either the Democrat or Republican party, an increase over the last two election cycles. Candidates for governor are eager to get their votes. In the eastern panhandle independent Marshall Wilson, has been rallying supporters on an anti-tax message.

“There are businesses that want to start here,” Wilson said. “There are businesses that want to move here from other states that will not do it because we have stupid taxes.”

From the other end of the political spectrum, Mountain Party nominee Danny Lutz, who is touting a more liberal agenda. Unlike Wilson, he sees a bigger role for the government.

“The three things that should register with anyone who hears Mountain Party are economic justice, social justice and environmental justice,” Lutz says.

The two could not be any more opposite in their public policy views, giving voters a distinct choice. But in a competitive race on the ballot, could their support decide the outcome next month? Lutz siphoning from the traditional Democratic base of nominee Ben Salango, and Wilson pulling votes from the Republican support for incumbent Governor Jim Justice.

Complicating things even further, former delegate Michael Folk, a conservative from the eastern panhandle, is running as a write-in. There is also a Libertarian on the ballot who can pull from extreme wings on the political landscape.

Early voting is already underway in West Virginia and continues until October 31.

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