Democratic candidates gather for rally, hot dog luncheon
BARBOURSVILLE -- West Virginia Treasurer John Perdue took one look at the crowd of supporters Sunday afternoon at the 4-H Club and called them by name, "family."
Perdue, who joked that at this point in the race the candidates can all finish each other's speeches, said he summed up the Democratic Party in the state as one big family pulling together toward Election Day.
"When I think of the Manchins, I think of family, a great West Virginia family, and that's what we have as Democrats -- we are family," said Perdue, who oversees the state's $16 billion dollar budget. "It's family working together for whatever job it may be."
Perdue was just one of dozens of candidates who braved a chilly rain to gather at the Cabell County Democratic Women's luncheon put on in conjunction with the Cabell County Democrats Executive Committee.
Perdue said all Democrats should be proud of the fiscal solid-ground laid by now Sen. Joe Manchin and current Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The afternoon hot dog picnic came on the heels of Saturday night's Jefferson and Jackson Dinner in Charleston.
At that dinner, state Democrats honored Susan Hubbard as the Democrat of the Year and Eldon Paul as the Cabell County Democrat of the Year. Both were in attendance Sunday afternoon.
Democratic Women president Janet Artrip said she's got a great feeling about Cabell County going blue.
"I've had this feeling for the past week that Cabell County is going blue. The state may not, but we have a good and positive feeling about the county," Artrip said.
Nick Joe Rahall Jr., a 36-year veteran House of Representatives member, said he enjoys the challenge of representing the wide berth of the now 18-county-wide 3rd District in West Virginia that ranges from newly added county Mason to all the way east to Pocahontas County in the mountains.
Rahall said he's built a strong foundation for perpetual growth in West Virginia through such legacy work beginning with establishing the New River Gorge National River in 1977, up through work on the Hatfields McCoys Trail system and now The Summit, the Boy Scouts of America's permanent home for the National Jamboree -- all of which are creating a diversified tourism-based economic engine in West Virginia.
"I believe that more infrastructure leads to more jobs, which leads to more tax revenues, which reduces the deficit," Rahall said.
From Cabell County Commission candidate Bob Bailey to W.Va. Supreme Court candidate Tish Chafin, all the speakers urged folks to get out the vote and to encourage everyone to do so.
Cabell County Sheriff Tommy McComas, who gave up a detective's office to allow for an on-site early voting station at the Ona Field Office, said that they've been overwhelmed with the response of folks taking advantage of the convenience of early voting.
"In the first four days, we had more than 1,100 votes cast in Ona," McComas said. "This is the first time anyone's been able to cast a vote anywhere but the courthouse. Due to the full service tax office that I implemented at the Field Office, people living out in the county have embraced that and are now embracing early voting and making it easier to vote."