CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - If Delegate Eric Porterfield chooses to re-run for his current seat as District 27, House of Delegates, he's already got a contender.
Amidst the controversy revolving around Porterfield's comments about the LGBTQ community, army veteran Tina Russell announced today that she would be running against him in the 2020 election.
"I have a lot of concerns with the divisiveness that's going on in our politics and I don't think it's right to alienate or to make any group of people feel like they don't belong," said Russell.
Russell feels that she is the right candidate to represent District 27. She has lived in Mercer County for over 25 years and has worked as a social worker. Now, she substitutes teaches.
Last week, Porterfield made inflammatory statements while in committee discussion over legislation that would prevent cities from declaring members of the LGBTQ community as a protected class.
Earlier today, February 11th, 2019, the West Virginia Republican Party denounced Porterfield's comments.
Since then, he has doubled down on his stance and says he speaks the truth and hopes WV Republican Party Chairwoman, Melody Potter, see it too.
"These people are tyrants, these people are threatening, these people are brutal," said Porterfield.
Porterfield said he has received hundreds of nasty voicemails, texts, emails, and personal attacks.
He played one voicemail that transcribed, "Do you know what it's like to grow up gay in West Virginia? I bet you don't care because you bashed fags in high school. But now you're a representative and you're in the public, so we're going to bash back. So if you want to fight with a faggot, you call me up and I'll be there tomorrow and we'll have it out."
In some of his comments, Porterfield labeled the LGBTQ community the "modern-day Ku Klux Klan."
"Well my concern is whenever you make a comment about the LGBTQ community and you label them the Ku Klux Klan as a person of color, I actually take offense to that because the Ku Klux Klan massacred a whole generation of African Americans and to paint a broad brush of a statement like that about an entire group of people, it's very divisive," said Russell.
In retaliation to the news of Russell's campaign announcement, Porterfield said today, "they are the closest thing to the Ku Klux Klan in the modern era and I look forward to Tina Russell running against me. It's an easy win for the Porterfield Campaign come 2020 unless I run for a bigger office."
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