The following is a full and complete Op-Ed piece as it was sent to the editors of the Charleston Newspapers by Charlotte Pritt. In an obvious attempt to bury the lead, (a device used by coal-powered media across Appalachia for years to suppress news that doesn’t suit their purpose), the Gazette editorial staff watered down her original title (above) to Charlotte Pritt: A few to blame for Judd’s 41 percent. They also took out some key facts, including Manchin’s controversial affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council, which, unchecked, could quite possibly be a formation of the Fifth Reich in America.
For twisting her words, Statehouse Beat reporter Phil Kabler and his his editors at the Charleston Gazette both owe a public apology to author Pritt, who happens to be the former Democratic gubernatorial nominee, former state senator, former delegate and former member of the state Democratic Executive Committee. So she should know a thing or two about Democratic politics in the Mountain State. HOWEVER Pritt shouldn’t hold her breath because, as I demonstrate below her article, the Gazette’s editorial board has also been hijacked.
Blame Democratic Party Hijackers Not the People of WV -Charlotte Pritt
The misrepresentation of my perspective in Phil Kabler’s piece: “How did Judd get 41% of vote?” must be addressed because it implies that I blame Republicans for the incident and I don’t. I agree with GOP Chairman Mike Stuart, the Young Republicans and Betty Ireland, the Democratic Chair Larry Puccio and Natalie Tennant should have taken action like the 13 other Secretaries of State that kept Judd off the ballot. Although I relayed the speculation that some people felt that Karl Rove-types were bankrolling the Keith Judd incident, I made it very clear that my outrage was with the right wing “corporatist” of the democratic party who have hijacked the Democratic Party in WV. The Karl Rove part belonged to someone else, but I did say that it takes organization to carry 10 counties. Carrying a county doesn’t just spontaneously happen. Since I had talked with both Jim Haught and Paul Nyden May 9, before I had talked with Phil Kabler, they can corroborate that my outrage was with Republicrats Senator Joe Manchin and his appointed Chair of the Democratic Party Larry Puccio, whom I feel are responsible for the incident for the following reasons:
Inaction by the Democratic Party Chair and Anti-Obama comments before the May 9 election by WV’s highest ranking Democrat Officials: Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin
Like Boone County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Ann Zickefoose, I also “wondered why the Democratic Party of the Secretary of State hadn’t done more to avoid the embarrassment of Judd on the ballot.” My first call May 9 was to the Secretary of State’s office to be told that they had alerted the Democratic Party Headquarters of Judd’s filing early on so that they could take action. My second call on May 9 was to Democratic Headquarters to find out why they were caught sleeping at the wheel. When I asked what the party had done in response to the call from the Secretary of State’s office they said “they asked the Secretary of State not to allow the filing.” When asked if they had filed a lawsuit or if they had sent out press releases to alert the public, the answer was no. When asked if there was any paper trail of anything that they had done to alert the public they said no. In effect they had done nothing. When I asked for the name of Obama’s contact person in the state, I was told that she (they couldn’t remember her name) had been in the state for a couple of weeks before the election and they thought she was someplace in the northern part of the state but they didn’t have her number!
The Pre-Primary timing of the anti-Obama comments by Senator Joe Manchin (coal broker) and Governor Earl Ray Tomlin (heavily backed by coal companies) which stated that they didn’t know if they were going to vote for Obama shortly before the election set the stage for what happened in the 10 counties (which were either 100% or 98% counties controlled by extractive multinational coal, timber or gas and oil).
When I researched “Joe Manchin’s connection to AlEC, I discovered that ALEC is funded by the Koch brothers and other multinational corporations. ALEC was described as “basically a right-wing Republican organization….but there are a few reactionary Democrats who have been involved…maybe 1%” Joe Manchin was the first on the list of Congressional Democrats with ALEC ties.
Joe Manchin’s support of Republican candidates against democrats is legendary in the WV among people in the know. Since 1996 when Joe started democrats for Underwood and successfully helped the Republican candidate win, the democratic party has been continually raided with right wing candidates. The traditional values of the democratic party of choice, environment, worker’s rights have not been represented by the democratic candidates since Joe Manchin ran for governor and appointed Larry Puccio chair. The democratic party leadership under Joe in WV is similar to a mini-ALEC in that “real democrat” candidates like Virginia Graf, who ran against twelve year incumbent Republican Shelly Moore Capito, Arch Moore’s daughter and a Joe Manchin family close friend, received no support from the democratic party.
Senator Joe Manchin’s comments on Fox news referring to ”President George W. Bush as my President” while becoming bolder and bolder in his anti-Obama comments have added fuel to the coal company and multinational industries who have continued an all-out war on Obama in West Virigina since the beginning of Obama’s presidency.
I am an unashamed liberal Democrat and the only person to ever defeat right-wing conservative Joe Manchin, even while he outspent me two to one. When people of West Virginia have access to the truth (through the media) or their own experience, they will make choices that reflect their interest. Unfortunately, when they live in a state controlled by multinationals, when they are fed misinformation, have no candidate reflecting their interests, battle with triggered voting machines and other irregularities at the polling site, they give up in dismay, especially if they think that there is no one expressing their reality or defending their cause. The Democratic Party leadership, Manchin and Puccio, left unchecked by Secretary Tennant, has failed us.
Betty Ireland is Right: Natalie Tennant’s Excuses don’t measure up
I agree with Betty Ireland and the Secretaries of 16 other states who successfully kept Keith Judd off the ballot. The same federal law that Natalie said superseded state law applied to the other states. Keith Judd has had to sue the Secretaries of State in other states to get on the ballot. Judd’s filed 22 cases in 17 states, PLUS 41 additional circuit court cases in 19 different circuits for a total of 63 court filings! I haven’t yet found 1 where he was ultimately successful, including in WV. the ballot. If you want to check the research, go to
Even though Judd seems to have consistently run as a democrat, Republican Secretaries of the State in several other states protected the people of their state from the embarrassment that WV experienced. Republican Secretary of State in Louisiana court document filed this year February 20, 2012 Case: 11-30920 states on page 2 “This appeal is without arguable merit. It is dismissed as frivolous. Judd has a history of vexatious and frivolous litigation in this court and many other courts.” So Natalie could have refused to let Keith Judd on the ballot using the same tactics as Secretaries of numerous other states and forced him to sue to get on the ballot.
The right wing hijackers of the democratic party, Senator Joe Manchin and his appointed chair of the democratic party Larry Puccio, have shown by their affiliation to “the corporate party” of ALEC and multinational companies controlling the state, by their comments against Obama and their continued lack of support for democrats with traditional values and by their inexcusable inaction are responsible for this embarrassing incident with Keith Judd. The embarrassment West Virginia and all of her citizens have had to endure since the May 9 election could have been prevented if Natalie, Puccio and Joe had not rolled over and played dead or in Joe’s and Earl Ray’s case added fuel to the fire.
To add insult to injury, the Gazette printed Kabler’s Who’s behind the Judd campaign?, to back up his original lie. In it he weakly “attempts” to answer his own question by providing a long-winded explanation about how Judd purportedly sold a commercial property back in July 14, 2007, for $170,000. Although it may account for how he raised the $2500.00 fee required to run in West Virginia, Kabler never even comes close to explaining how Judd managed to carry ten West Virginia counties without some sort of party affiliation!
By exposing the fact that the WV Democratic Party didn’t raise a ruckus about some out-of-state inmate running on the Democratic ticket here, and that Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D-ManchinTool) didn’t have the guts to challenge Judd despite knowing that he was in federal prison, Ms. Pritt’s explanation goes far to give a bleak picture of a hijacked political party. Unfortunately not far enough to satisfy my curiosity.
I want to know why Kabler, who is an experienced statehouse reporter, was so inclined to swallow Tennant’s lame explanation for why she didn’t challenge Judd in court, particularly when all those other states had successfully kept him off their ballot -for years. I want to know where Judd really got his $2,500 filing fee, because since the sale of his property he’s on record as having filed numerous lawsuits against various Secretaries of States as a pauper! And if that’s truly the case then I want to know how a convicted felon got all those votes in a state where nobody knows him without spending any of his own cash to campaign.
So perhaps the most incisive question is just why does the Gazette pay Kabler to be a statehouse reporter and give him his own column, yet never demands that he push for exactly who ordered Tennant to just roll over and let some bum make a laughing stock out of West Virginia?
IN A RELATED MATTER, it just so happens that this same election cycle Tennant also kept H. John Rogers, an upstanding West Virginian from filing to run for State Supreme Court on the Mountain Party ticket, which, when compared to her decision to let a convicted felon run while still behind bars, exposed both her and her beloved WV Democratic party as having been hijacked.