West Virginia Republican Party
The West Virginia Republican Party is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party in West Virginia. In 2018, was elected as the first state chairwoman of the WVGOP to fill the unexpired term of Conrad Lucas, who resigned to run for office. Potter was then re-elected unanimously to serve a full four year term.
The state party platform is similar to the national platform in that the party fervently supports the coal industry against Environmental Protection Agency, supports a patient’s right to choose medical care in lieu of the Affordable Care Act mandates, the right to bear arms, advocates the parents’ right to choose their child’s education, and upholds traditional marriage, and the right to life.
The party favors the elimination of personal property tax on equipment and machinery. It favors reducing gasoline tax and corporate net tax to the 6% national average. It also favors the Fair Tax Act.
The Republican Party arose in 1854. The Democratic Party was an advocate of slavery and the Republican Party opposed it. There was a lot of turmoil in Virginia with the rise of the Republican Party. When the Civil War reached Western Virginia, there was a rise in violence against those who opposed slavery. In May 1861, people traveled to Richmond, Virginia to vote on secession of the state. Many Republicans had to leave the city because of the threats. Those who fled and others who lived in Western Virginia went to Wheeling to create their own government and began creating a new state, in which they were successful.
The Civil War helped the Republican Party gain recognition in the state. The Civil War in West Virginia often split families apart. The Boggs family lived in Pendleton County and one son was the head of the Confederate County Court while another son was the head of the Union Home guards in the north. Today, the northern party of Pendleton County is still strongly Republican. Republicans in Hampshire and Hardy counties left after the war to form Mineral and Grant counties, which are still primarily Republican. Republicans held the control in the state until the 1870s and the Confederates began voting and holding offices. In the 1870s, the party was so weak that it endorsed a Democratic governor.
Major Nathan Goff Jr. restructured the party. He was able to get the party to raise money and voters and recruit leaders. He led the party until the 1880s. He ran for governor in 1888 and won. The Republicans were the dominant party until the Great Depression. Since the Depression, Democrats have controlled the state.
Arch Moore Jr. was elected the Republican governor in the 1960s. In 1985, Moore helped raise money and supervised recovery efforts for the flood of 1985. The state voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Betty Ireland was also elected as Secretary of State in 2004.
In the 2014 elections, the West Virginia Republican Party made major gains in West Virginia, capturing one of its two Senate seats, all of its congressional House seats for the first time since 1921, and gained control of both the West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia Senate for the first time in 80 years. In the 2016 elections, the Republicans held on to their seats and made gains in the State Senate and gained three statewide offices.
In March 2019, the West Virginia GOP was embroiled in national controversy when a poster linking Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim member of Congress, to the 9/11 attacks was displayed at the state capitol.
Current elected officials
The West Virginia Republican Party holds all three of the state’s three U.S. House seats. Incumbent governor Jim Justice who was elected as a Democrat in 2016, switched to the Republican Party in August 2017.
- State Board of Public Works
- Attorney General: Patrick Morrisey
- Auditor: JB McCuskey
- Secretary of State: Mac Warner
- Agriculture Commissioner: Kent Leonhardt
- State Legislature
- President of the Senate/Lt. Governor: Mitch Carmichael
- Senate Majority Leader: Tom Takubo
- Speaker of the House: Roger Hanshaw
- House Majority Leader: Amy Summers
- U.S. Senate
- U.S. House of Representatives
- Melody Potter, Chairwoman
- Roman Stauffer, Associate Chairman
- Larry Pack, National Committeeman
- Kayla Kessinger,
- Michelle Wilshere, Treasurer
- Linda Hartling, Secretary
- Andrew Dornbos, General Counsel
- Liz Baldt, Vice Chairman, North
- Marshall Mann, Vice Chairman,South
- Kevin Poe, Vice Chairman, 1st Congressional
- Paul Hartling, Vice Chairman, 2nd Congressional
- Chris Trent, Vice Chairman, 3rd Congressional
- Janina Michael, Vice Chairman At Large
- Marcia Miller, Vice Chairman At Large
- Pam Krushansky, At Large, 1st Congressional
- Isabel Simon, At Large, 2nd Congressional
- Doug Smith, At Large, 3rd Congressional
- Beth Bloch, At Large, Statewide
- Lewis Rexroad, At Large, Statewide
- Shirley Leonhardt, At Large, Statewide
- Anne Hildebrand , WV Federation of Republican Women
- McElhinny, Brad (January 6, 2018). “Melody Potter wins unexpired term to lead WV GOP”. MetroNews. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- Platform, West Virginia Republican Party, http://wvgop.org/about/platform/, retrieved 14 December 2011
- Willis, Derek (November 24, 2014). “Election Was Rough for Democrats. It Was Worse for West Virginia Democrats”. The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- “The Latest: GOP maintains majority in West Virginia Senate”. Miami Herald (from AP). November 9, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- McElhinny, Brad (November 9, 2016). “W.Va. Republicans celebrate Trump win and GOP gains”. West Virginia MetroNews. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- Linton, Caroline (March 2, 2019). “Anti-Muslim poster at West Virginia GOP Day links Ilhan Omar to 9/11”. CBS News. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
- Federal Officials, West Virginia Republican Party, http://wvgop.org/leadership/federal-officials/, retrieved 13 December 2011
- WVGOP Officers, West Virginia Republican Party,http://www.wvgop.org/leadership/executive-committee/wvgop-officers/, retrieved 21 January 2013