Reporter Jake Zuckerman examined the possibility of congressional debates in West Virginia on the front page of today’s Charleston Gazette-Mail and found a lack of interest by Republican candidates statewide. Here is what he said about WV’s 1st District:
In the 1st District, West Virginia University law professor Kendra Fershee said she, too, is having problems setting something up with incumbent Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.
She said without a media organization or university to moderate and facilitate, the logistics of putting on a fair debate are tricky.
That said, her campaign has reached out to McKinley’s to set something up, and she has yet to hear back. She said she hopes to see a debate come together, but she’s doubtful it will happen.
“If he wanted to, I suspect he would have reached out by now,” she said.
The McKinley campaign did not respond to multiple inquiries regarding whether he planned to debate Fershee.
Regarding the trend across all three House districts in the state, Fershee said it’s a loss to the people of a district when they don’t get to hear what kind of ideas two candidates have in stock.
“It just seems odd to me that you express a desire to serve but refuse to answer questions of the public,” she said. “I just don’t get it.”
I get it, Kendra, at least as it applies to Ogden’s newspapers sponsoring a debate. My hunch is that most of their local readers believe that McKinley is running unopposed or you have nothing to say. In Wheeling, your name has been mentioned only once (in a back-page story about the opening of Democratic headquarters in Wheeling) since you won the primary four months ago. Why would an Ogden newspaper sponsor a debate that would acknowledge that McKinley has an actual opponent (and with ideas, no less)? Ogden only supports debates when Republicans stand to gain. (See their sponsorship of the Republican primary debate and the upcoming Morrisey/Manchin debate).
More McKinley on today's page C4
If you turn to page C4 of the opinion section of today’s Wheeling News-Register, you’ll find an op-ed on prostate cancer. While it is nice to see that the News-Register cares about its readers’ health, there is nothing new in the article as the statistics and information are readily available elsewhere. (For instance, readers can find very similar statistics and information found in this article on the American Cancer Society's webpage.)
Why was this op-ed published? Perhaps it is because of what the author tells us in the first sentence:
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to revisit what you know and don’t know about this disease.
I would disagree, however, and point to the author’s credentials which are easily the longest and most detailed that I have ever seen in an Ogden newspaper:
Mary G. McKinley, RN, MSN, CCRN, from New Martinsville, is a critical care nurse with over 30 years of experience. She is married to Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. from the First District of West Virginia, together they have four children and six grandchildren.
Even though her husband’s congressional duties usually require him to be in Washington during the week, Mary has continued her work as a nursing consultant and still resides at their home in Wheeling, frequent trips to Washington.
Mary graduated from WVU and is a partner at the firm Critical Connections. Mary is the past President at American Association of Critical Care Nurses and is a published author on nursing, critical care and health policy.
Finally, if this op-ed provided new, important news about prostate cancer, you would think that this piece would find its way to other Ogden publications given that the newspaper chain frequently uses the same editorial material throughout the chain. As of 1 PM, however, a Google search had this same piece only in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel (also in McKinley’s congressional district). Hey, maybe prostate cancer is not a problem outside WV’s first congressional district.
Yes, we still have two months to go but the local papers have taken a big step toward insuring that congressman McKinley's wife receives more coverage than his opponent, Kendra Fershee, this election cycle. Why would they want to sponsor a debate?