Monday, November 1, 2010

Election controversy

This account of a local Tea Party meeting last Friday night comes from Tom Lewis, a Democratic activist. Since it’s so inflammatory, and comes just before the election, I asked Rob Wolford to send me his version of the events. He didn’t have time to write anything, but characterized Tom’s piece as “inaccurate.” About the only thing he agreed on was that Mitch Davis, Democratic candidate for state delegate, spoke last at the meeting.

I decided to post this, late as it is, because there has been some justifiable complaining from Democrats about Mitch’s treatment by the Review, and this provides some context in answering Commissioner Bob Hott’s accusations in last week’s paper. Since I wasn’t at the Tea Party meeting, I can’t make any judgment, but anyone with more information is welcome to comment. Comments will be deleted for incivility. -MH

(Romney WV October 30, 2010) -- Hampshire County Republicans continued a strident, last-minute counterattack against the candidacy of Democrat Mitch Davis last night at a forum sponsored by the local Tea Party affiliate, "We the People of Hampshire County." Davis is a candidate for the 50th House of Delegates District now represented by Republican Ruth Rowan.

The counterattack began on Tuesday, when Republican County Commissioner Bob Hott, during an official meeting of the county commission, attacked Davis for not being truthful in a campaign statement listing Davis's contributions to the county over many years. Hott's rant, which misrepresented Davis's statements, was run verbatim in the Hampshire Review in the last newspaper to appear before the election. The newspaper made no attempt to contact Davis for his reaction to Hott's misstatements.

The counterattack continued Friday night when Mrs. Rowan's son-in-law and campaign manager, Rob Wolford, asked every candidate who spoke (until he was stopped by the master of ceremonies) to comment on what he said were lies by Davis.

By lot, Davis was the last speaker of the evening. Wolford asked him for an explanation of his statement, but as Davis began to speak, Wolford, Ruth Rowan herself and her husband Tom Rowan began shouting at Davis, refusing to let him speak. (Meanwhile, members of the Tea Party listened to Davis respectfully and expressed their disapproval of the Rowans' tactics.) Eventually, when order was restored, Davis said he stands behind every statement he has made about helping the county in various ways, and offered to provide anyone who contacts him for details with confirmation of each one, along with many that were not in the published statement.

Davis's accomplishments, as published in the Cumberland Times-News and the Weekender, are:

In recent years, Mitch has become known as the "go-to guy" when it comes to making sure Hampshire County gets what it needs from the state government. In recent years he has played a major role in:

· Moving the $2.5 million Interconnector Project -- the sewer and water line from the Hampshire County High School to the Romney treatment plant -- from number 67 on the state's list of projects to be funded up to number 14, and assuring that the funding would be 100 per cent of the amount applied for;
· Persuading the Hampshire Building Authority to apply for, and then making sure it received, an energy conservation grant of $200 thousand toward the remodeling of the old county jail;
· Getting state money for two pickup trucks for the Central Hampshire County Public Service District;
· Obtaining half the funding to replace the roof on the Hampshire County Senior Center;
· Getting the Capon Bridge Rescue Squad the money to pave its parking lot;
· Arranging a grant of $15,000 for the Capon Springs Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad to get the trailer they needed to transport their cascade (breathing-air supply) system;
· Facilitating a meeting of Governor Manchin with representatives of Valley Health System and the Hampshire Memorial Hospital at a time when the deal leading to the sale of the hospital and the building of a new facility was in jeopardy (the meeting resolved the problems).

"You didn't see any pictures in the paper when these things got done," Mitch says, "because I didn't want credit then and I'm not looking for credit now. All I want is a chance to get more things done for Hampshire and Mineral Counties."

The Republican counterattack has had the effect of bringing to many peoples' attention the fact that Mitch Davis, as a private citizen, has a remarkable track record of getting things done for his county, while Mrs, Rowan's six-year record is one of doing nothing much.

--Tom Lewis

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