A special election for West Virginia Governor was held on Tuesday, October 4th, and the WV Mountain Party‘s Bob Henry Baber came in third with 2%, while Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin beat Republican Bill Maloney 49.4% to 47.2%. Thanks to Ballot Access News for the story.
West Virginia is holding a special election for governor today, October 4, and one of the candidates is the Mountain Party’s Bob Henry Baber. The Mountain Party, WV’s Green Party affiliate, has made a name for itself by opposing mountaintop removal mining, which both Democrats and Republicans support and which MP candidates have dubbed “ground zero for global climate change”. WBOY Channel 12 recently interviewed Baber for his thoughts on the election:
“To speak for the common man, woman and child of West Virginia and try to move West Virginia into the 21st century and tell the truth about where we are, running a three-legged race with Mississippi to be the poorest state in the union — and we should be the wealthiest — it can never be a futile effort. You just do what you do and leave it to the voters to decide. Where would the world be without futile efforts?” he said.
“Politics is awful hard to read. I know the people are sick of the negative ads. I feel that I have some wind at my back right now. I think the Mountain Party is going to grow this year.”
Over at Alternet, Jeff Biggers has published a detailed interview with Bob Henry Baber, the West Virginia Mountain Party’s candidate for governor in an October 4th special election:
In a blatant genuflect to the coal industry’s stranglehold over state politics, the West Virginia Broadcasters Association blocked the participation of popular Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Dr. Bob Henry Baber last week, as it hosted a widely denounced debate between the two climate-change-denying, Big-Coal-bankrolled candidates.
Never has West Virginia seemed more like an embarrassing 19th-century throwback to dirty politics and absentee corporation control over the very heart of democratic elections than in the upcoming gubernatorial race.
Never has Baber’s inspiring and heartfelt campaign platform for a just transition to a sustainable and clean energy economy in ailing coal country seemed more timely — and threatening to the Democratic and Republican Parties.
West Virginia Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Bob Henry Baber participated in a 3-way televised debate on September 7th with his Democratic and Republican opponents. Baber is running in a special election for WV Governor to be held October 4th. WBOY ABC-12 reported on the debate:
Baber, though, said it’s government’s job to protect the entire state, “not just one industry.” … “If we had a real EPA we’d never have started down this road of mountaintop mining,” said Baber, a former Richwood mayor and former chairman of the Mountain Party who now works as the major gifts officer at Glenville State College. “Mountaintop mining is vile. It’s wrong, but we’re tied to it for the time being.”
Baber said the state needs to encourage new, greener technologies. “Those who have gotten the most have given the least, and it’s dragging down the whole state,” Baber added.
Baber was the first Mountain Party member ever elected to public office when he won the 2004 Richwood mayoral election. He had lost out to (Jesse) Johnson for the party’s gubernatorial nomination earlier that year.
He acknowledged that being a third-party candidate is an uphill battle.
“It’s a tough way to go — you don’t have a lot of finances; you’ve got to do a lot yourself,” he said. “Our party is a party about the truth, and sometimes telling the truth is not the most popular thing in the world to do.”
Addressing one of West Virginia’s blessings, and burdens, Baber said
“We are hooked on coal, the whole country’s hooked on coal and oil, and we’re going to be for the foreseeable future,” he said. “But we absolutely need to start a plan to get off coal and oil. We should have done this a long time ago, and now it’s time to start.”
Coal mining has offered West Virginia’s working families jobs at above average wages, but has despoiled much of their land and killed and maimed many miners, with the benefits enriching a small number of mine owners and others similarly situated.
H/T to Independent Political Report and writer Daniel Surman.