OAK HILL, W. Va. (WOWK) — It’s a scene that plays out every election season. Dozens of candidates turn out to work hundreds of voters for support. This night it’s the Fayette County Democratic Party dinner, featuring the party’s four candidates for Governor. One is already targeting Republican incumbent Jim Justice.
“We can’t keep using the same playbook from the 1950s. We need somebody who’s actually going to show up for work. And somebody who wants the job rather than the title,” said Commissioner Ben Salango, (D) Candidate for WV Governor.
Another candidate is a medical doctor, who says he’s been a leader on the opioid crisis.
“We’ve done Senate Bill 273 trying to limit the initial prescriptions. At the same time protecting patients who have pain, that have been taking these pain medicines for such a long time. You know you just can’t stop those pain medications,” said State Sen. Ron Stollings, (D) Candidate for WV Governor.
When it comes to raising money and signing up other volunteers and candidates, one hopeful has a leg up, at least for now.
“Our campaign is a little different. We’re traveling the state. We’ve done 132 town halls, because we’re trying to build a movement that can get the entire political establishment out of office and put the people in,” said Stephen Smith, (D) Candidate for WV Governor.
The fourth candidate is newcomer Jody Murphy, a small businessman from Parkersburg.
“I want to grow and retain our state’s residency, and grow and diversify our state’s economy. I’ve done that in Pleasants County. I’ve done it for the Mid-Ohio Valley, and I believe I can do it for all of West Virginia,” said Jody Murphy, (D) Candidate for WV Governor.
Politics aside, these dinners always have a lot of local color.
“While press coverage and advertising are critical in any campaign, these county party dinners are crucial for the purpose of retail politics. That’s where candidates can look voters in the eye, shake their hand and ask for their support,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.