Category Archives: Posts

Reporter’s Notebook: West Virginia can learn from the Wasteland

Normally, this space is where I brief you on the whispers inside the state Capitol, but this week is the Thanksgiving holiday and you’ll get enough politics around your dining room table on Thursday.

Now it’s time for something completely different.

For the last few weeks I’ve been one of likely hundreds of people who played a beta version of a video game that, on first glance, you’d think doesn’t portray West Virginia in a positive light. Yet, the post-apocalyptic Appalachia in the Bethesda Studios video game “Fallout 76”has much to teach those of us in the real world.

For those who didn’t read my August profile piece on the game“Fallout 76” is part of the Fallout franchise. In this alternative history, the United States still wins World War II. Yet, imagine technology improving, but the 1950s lifestyle continuing into the late 2000s. Resources are scarce, with the U.S. and China already fighting a war for oil in Alaska.

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Reporter’s Notebook: Post-Election Observations

We made it through Election Day, and I have the following observations I’d like to make.

After covering the first state Supreme Court election under the nonpartisan category, it’s my humble opinion that the experiment failed completely.

I was for making judicial elections nonpartisan. I think the crafters of this legislation had good intentions for taking party labels out of judicial elections. After all, judges shouldn’t be ruling based on their political party affiliation or based one someone else’s. Judges, magistrates and justices need to be impartial and unbiased.

But speaking as a reporter, judicial races — particularly Supreme Court races — are hard enough to cover. Candidates for judicial races have to be very careful what they say. If they end up ruling on a case down the road, comments on the campaign trail can be used to force justices to recuse themselves. Members of the bar also have to abide by various rules above and beyond what us mere mortals have to.

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Election 2018: A Ogden WV Voters Guide

Today is the day…or it least it’s the final day: Election Day. The polls opening at precincts across the state at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

If you didn’t take advantage of early voting and want to vote, but don’t know who is on the ballot or even where your polling place is, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office can help.

Visit to find sample ballots for your county, check your voter registration, find your polling place, learn about the state’s extremely flexible Voter ID requirements (just about anything in your wallet and purse will work as ID), and find contact information for your local county clerk.

If you need to learn more about people or issues down the ballot, I won’t be of much help. But I can help you learn more about candidates for statewide office, U.S. Senate candidates, and constitutional amendments on your ballot.

Let’s start with candidates for the special elections for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. There are two divisions and you select one candidate for each division.

Division 1 Candidate Profiles

Division 2 Candidate Profiles

This weekend Ogden Newspapers in West Virginia endorsed appointed justices Tim Armstead and Evan Jenkins.

Next up, we have candidates for U.S. Senate. The incumbent is U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. He is being challenged by Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Read more here.

Ogden Newspapers across the state endorsed Manchin for re-election. Read more here.

Lastly, there are two constitutional amendments on the ballot. Amendment 1 would add language to the state constitution saying “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” Read more here.

Amendment 2 would give the West Virginia Legislature oversight of the judicial branch’s budget. West Virginia is the only state where the legislative branch has no say over the budget submitted by the judicial branch. Read more here.

Ogden Newspapers in West Virginia have endorsed Amendment 2. Read more here.

Hopefully, this short guide will help you today as you cast your vote.

Reporter’s Notebook: The Final Countdown

Tuesday is the big day. If you haven’t voted early, Tuesday is Election Day. I really need you to vote, because my poor mailbox just can’t handle the load of mailers.

In one day, my wife and I received over 12 pieces of campaign mail for most congressional, statewide, legislative and even city and county elections. Almost every video I watch on YouTube has a 10-second ad for various candidates. I’m getting banner ads on Facebook.

From the standpoint of a newspaperman, I love it as I know it’s got to be helping the bottom line. But I can also relate to the average Joe getting bombarded with pleas for votes. Based on the early voting turnout numbers I’ve seen, I don’t think candidates have to worry about turnout.

I can’t speak for a blue wave or a red wave. It’s hard to discern that from the numbers. Always remember, West Virginia might be a conservative state, but its party registration is still majority Democratic. Democrats are always going to outnumber Republicans for the foreseeable future when it comes to voting, but that doesn’t mean all those registered Democrats are voting for Democratic candidates or the Democratic positions on ballot issues.

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