Teachers flexing political muscle on West Virginia electoral landscape

West Virginia

Morgan County Commisioner Ken Reed says his focus on economic development propelled him to vistory in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the West Virginia House of Delegates.

SPRING MILLS, W. Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia’s political landscape may be shifting after Tuesday’s primary election. And it could impact the November general election.

One of the surprises in Tuesday’s primary returns was the upset of Senate President Mitch Carmicahel in the Republican ranks, ousted by a teacher with the backing of educators who were upset about Carmicahel’s opposition to higher teacher pay.

And in the eastern panhandle, incumbent Delegate Larry D. Kump was defeated by Morgan County Commissioner and businessman Ken Reed.

“I think they just like what I’ve done as a commissioner in Morgan County,” says Reed.”We’ve done a lot of good things there. We’ve really pushed economic development. I think that’s a giant plus for the eastern panhandle.”

And veteran Democratic Delegate from Jefferson County, John Doyle, thinks the legislature will have its hands full even before Delegate-elect Reed is sworn in.

“Our state constitution requires we end the fiscal year without a deficit,” says Doyle. “And right now I don’t see how we’re going to do that unless we take some money out of the rainy day fund and put it in the general fund, at least to finish the fiscal year.”

And Doyle thinks the Democratic vote in Tuesday’s primary for Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango as nominee for governor will put funding for schools front and center.

“Governor Jim Justice in my mind has paid lip service to education,” says Doyle. “But he really hasn’t improved it. He hasn’t taken the lead to improve it.”

And given that teachers put their political muscle behind outsing the Senate president, Delegate Doyle may well be on target.

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