The current governor, Jim Justice, has already announced that he will run – this time as a Republican.
To the list, add Mike Folk. As the Associated Press describes:
Former West Virginia Delegate Mike Folk says he's running for governor.
The Berkeley County Republican announced the campaign in an email Tuesday.
Folk is an airline pilot and served three terms in the House of Delegates. He lost to Democratic incumbent John Unger in a state Senate race in November.
And from this morning’s Charleston Gazette-Mail, we learn why he is challenging the governor:
“I’m here today to tell you that I’ve decided to run against the sitting governor, Jim Justice, because he has been a traitor to the truth and dishonest with West Virginia from the very start,” Folk said.
Folk’s claim to fame probably came from this tweet during the 2016 election:
Subtlety is apparently not one of Folk's strong suits.
Is David McKinley going to run for governor?
In December, Ogden’s state reporter, Steven Allen Adams, mentioned that possibility at the end of a column about upcoming elections:
The name I keep hearing as a Republican challenger for Justice is U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va. He has patriarchal status in the Republican Party and has been a successful congressman. He also knows that after 2020 West Virginia is going to lose a congressional district. The governor’s office is a brass ring, and if he can grab it, it would be a good way to close out a career in politics.
Today, an op-ed column in today’s Charleston Gazette-Mail by Stephen Reed suggests as much.
McKinley's perfect storm for governor
makes the case for why McKinley might run. But isn’t the sitting governor a Republican? Yes, and most of the article contrasts McKinley’s style with Justice’s.
Will our congressman run? Reed, who has worked for McKinley as a legislative aide, doesn’t quite say “yes” but his op-ed certainly suggests that he might. It should also be noted that Reed wrote another op-ed two weeks ago which, in retrospect, set up this op-ed:
Contested primaries good for state's civic health
Maybe at McKinley’s next town hall someone will ask him his opinion of teacher strikes? (Just kidding – like his fellow West Virginia representatives, McKinley doesn’t hold town halls.)
Under normal circumstances I would have doubted that McKinley would challenge Justice. As I have noted on a number of occasions (most recently, here), small market congressional incumbents have huge advantages in elections and McKinley has easily won his elections. West Virginia’s population decline will soon eliminate one its congressional seats, however, and the remaining three Republican representatives will be forced to play musical chairs. Even so, I don’t think McKinley will run for governor – McKinley is at his best in small groups and I don’t think there can be enough of them to defeat a populist like Justice.