I’ll be posting live updates from the one and only televised debate this year between Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and challenger Republican Bill Maloney.
(Actually, we’re going to do post-debate interviews.)
Alright, going to go write a story now.
Tomblin focuses on bipartisan support for mine safety regulation; natural gas regulations; and legislation to reduce liabilities. Says more to be done. “I just want to say to the voters, I will always put West Virginia first.”
Maloney: “…all we need is leadership to really move our state forward.” Election about: corruption, jobs, Obama. Then pitches his website and notes he and his wife built their family and businesses here.
Maloney: Re: DHHR’s acting Secretary Rocco Fucillo, who was being paid to commute from near his home to Charleston: “It would be nice to have a director that actually spent time in Charleston.” (The Tomblin admin ended Fucillo’s flexibility after it was reported in the press.)
Maloney and Tomblin spar back-and-forth and back-and-forth and back-and-forth in sharp, small exchanges over whether the state’s broadband plan is a good one. It was basically, No it’s not, said Maloney; and, Yes it is, said Tomblin.
Tomblin promises to come with a “full recommendation” about education next legislative session but gives no preview of it.
Maloney, referring to a state education audit, said the state has hired another consultant to decide what to say to auditors, a reference to the Board of Education’s dilatory response that includes hiring a consultant to re-write a report they’ve already worked on to reply to an audit that was released nearly 11 months ago.
Both candidates — Maloney after being asked again to answer — back funding state colleges based on graduation rates rather than enrollment. Such a funding model is in the works by the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission.
(West Virginia’s workers compensation system was privatized several years ago — a deal that is looked favorably upon these days.)
Asked about privatizing: Maloney said there’s a lot of ideas the state should look at, including privatizing roads and water systems. Tomblin looks back and talks about workers comp. A safer answer for the governor.
Both men are asked about specific cuts they would make to the budget. Neither names one.
Question about Century:
“This is just another in a long list of convoluted deals we’ve come up to save our basic industries,” Maloney said of a rate structure Century has asked for and some complicated, headache-inducing legislation that allows the Century-friendly rate structure via the state’s Public Service Commission.
Tomblin says, simply, he would do all he could to make sure the plant re-opens.
“I’m one of those persons who sees the bright side,” Tomblin. The governor accuses Maloney of pointing out all the bad things and notes that criticism of the court system comes mostly from out of state (a reference to the U.S. Chamber’s continued criticism of the West Virginia court, while the state Chamber has backed off criticizing the Supreme Court to the extent it was several years ago). Tomblin hits Maloney for criticizing the number of lawsuits in the state but then criticizing Tomblin to sue the federal government more. Maloney just laughs and doesn’t/isn’t given a chance to respond.
“I brought it for you, in case you…” Maloney says, holding up a prop legislative bill, after he challenges Tomblin over a largely ineffectual “alternate renewable energy portfolio” plan that the Legislature passed during the Manchin administration. Most utilities and energy companies had to do little or nothing to comply with it, but, still, the Maloney campaign compared it to the national “cap and trade” bill, which the coal industry here dislikes. The West Virginia Coal Association supported the portfolio legislation here.
Both are standing. Maloney taller. No question: Sitting or standing was negotiated — as are most things that happen about debate staging.
Maloney out of the gate second but with sharp word for Tomblin, who said the state is poised for success. “We’ve been poised for so long. How long are we supposed to hold that pose?” Maloney said. Tomblin replies, “He’s blamed me for every job loss for 40 years,” as he recalls he’s been governor for only 2 years.
A couple things flavoring the news day in West Virginia : Hope that the Century Aluminum plant in Jackson County could re-open soon collapsed today (http://charlestondailymail.com/News/breakingnews/201210090084). Re-opening the plant was a major goal of Tomblin administration.
Also today, two of the state’s top lawyers are suing Tomblin’s Department of Health and Human Resources saying they are whistleblowers trying to prevent wrongdoing and waste over a multi-million marketing contract (http://charlestondailymail.com/News/statenews/201210090138)
This debate is — watch out — preempting Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
Last year, talk radio personality Hoppy Kercheval moderated Tomblin and Maloney’s exchange. They were then running in a special election for a one-year term. This year, a full four-year term is on the ballot.
Charles Ryan, a former TV journalist and retired public relations man, is moderating tonight’s debate. The West Virginia Broadcasters Association, which is hosting the debate, could not agree on a working broadcast journalist to moderate the debate. TV stations were jealous that they would have to air each other’s talent for a full hour.
I just ran into Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson who unsuccessfully tried to appear at this debate, which is the only gubernatorial debate this year and the only event of note where most West Virginians will have an opportunity to see both Tomblin and Maloney together.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm and is filed under Elections, The Governor's Office. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.