WEST VIRGINIA 5 Electoral Votes
West Virginia is a diverse state. It stretches as far north as Pittsburgh and as far south as Richmond.  It goes as far west as Cleveland; in the east there are people who commute to Washington, DC.
Bush-Cheney Gore-Lieberman
Campaign Campaign
Bush-Cheney Co-Chair: Bill Phillips Jr.
..described as "the Lee Atwater of West Virginia politics." campaign manager for Cecil Underwood's successful gubernatorial campaign in 1996; went on to work as chief of staff in the governor's office.
Bush-Cheney Exec. Dir.: John H. McCutcheon II
...from Lewisburg; deputy campaign manager for Cecil Underwood's successful gubernatorial campaign in 1996; went on to work as executive assistant in the governor's office and for a time at the Department of Transportation before going to the private sector. 1988 and on Capitol Hill.

Victory 2000: run out of the state party headquarters

Gore-Lieberman State Director: Pat Baskette
...a principal of the Dewey Square Group.  Previously chief of staff to Rep. Owen Pickett (VA), special assistant to Sen. Joe Biden (DE), and southern coordinator for Biden's presidential campaign ('88).  Executive director of the Tennessee Democratic Party from 1984-87.
Press Secretary: Sarah Feinberg
Office: 405 Capitol St., Suite 500, Charleston

Coordinated Campaign Director: Debbie McCormick

Candidate Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7)
GWB: 3 visits.
DC: 2 visits.
Candidate Travel (Aug. 1-Nov. 7)
AG: 2 visits.
JL: 0 visits.
Nov. 4 -- AG and TG rally at Tri-State Airport (Sen. Byrd full endorsement), Huntington.
Nov. 3 evening-- GWB and LB Victory 2000 rally at Morgantown High School, Morgantown.  (Bush tossed the coin for the opening kickoff of the high school football game).
Oct. 27 -- DC visits Weirton Steel Corporation, Weirton Oct. 27 -- AG rally at the State Capitol, Charleston.
Oct. 19 -- DC Victory 2000 rally at Precision Coil in Clarksburg
Oct. 2 -- On the eve of the first presidential debate, GWB holds rally, emphasizing coal and energy, at Harris Riverfront Park along the banks of the Ohio River in Huntington (he remained overnight).
[Sept. 14 -- DC arrives at Wood County Airport in Williamstown, then proceeds to Marietta, Ohio] 
Aug. 1 -- GWB and LB continue "Renewing America's Purpose" Tour at the Veterans' Memorial, State Capitol, Charleston
A Sampling of More Campaign Activity A Sampling of More Campaign Activity
Nov. 5 -- Former First Lady Barbara Bush addresses Victory 2000 rally at McCutcheon Auctioneers in Parkersburg.  (This marked the conclusion of GOP Victory 2000's three-day "Courthouse to the White House" Bus Tour  that started with Gov. Bush's rally Morgantown).

Oct. 30 -- Former Pres. George H.W. Bush rally at Brushfork Armory in Bluefield.

Oct. 24 -- "Barnstorm for Reform" tour -- Govs. Sundquist (TN), Geringer (WY), Ryan (IL) and Gilmore (VA) and Texas Democrat former Rep. Mark Stiles speak at the University of Charleston in Charleston followed by an appearance in Beckley.

Oct. 22 -- Bush's cousin Billy Bush, a Washington, DC radio personality, speaks at a rally at Chief Logan State Park in Logan.

Bush's sister Doro Bush also made an appearance in the state.

NRA -- NRA President Charleton Heston, Exec. VP Wayne LaPierre and chief lobbyist James J. Baker appeared at an NRA member GOTV rally at Raleigh County Armory Civic Center in Beckley on the evening of Oct. 31, one of a series of NRA rallies around the country leading up to Election Day.  (The NRA put its membership in the state at this time at 52,000).

Nov. 3 -- DNC national chair Joe Andrew counters Bush's rally at Morgantown High School from a room right next to the gym where the rally was held.

Oct. 30 -- DNC national chair Joe Andrew flies in, does interviews and visits Democratic headquarters in Wheeling and does interviews in Parkersburg.

Oct. 26 -- Tipper Gore addresses supporters and undecided voters at Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg.

Oct. 12 -- DNC general chair Ed Rendell speaks at the Senior Monongalians center in Morgantown.

Oct. 11 -- Rev. Jesse Jackson and labor leaders speak in support of the Gore-Lieberman ticket in a lunchtime rally at Davis Square in Charleston.

Oct. 2 -- DNC national chair Joe Andrew and United Mine Workers president Cecil Roberts counter Bush's rally in Huntington, holding a press conference at Democratic headquarters, located about one block away.  The focus was on Cheney voting 18 times against black lung benefits.

Sept. 27 -- Rebecca Lieberman visit cancelled (reception at Marshall University, remarks at the Putnam County Library and visit to a day care center in Cabell County).

Television Television
At the end of October, an ad skirmish broke out on the issue of black lung benefits. Sarah Feinberg noted that Gore did not start advertising until about mid-October.  Prior to that, she said, "They [the Republicans] were up for six weeks unanswered." 
Some Newspaper Endorsements Some Newspaper Endorsements
Charleston Daily Mail --10/30/00
Dominion Post (Morgantown) --11/3/00
Charleston Gazette --10/10/00
Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) --11/4/00
Miscellaneous Notes Miscellaneous Notes
Organization and issues helped Bush win one of the safest Democratic states in the country.  While incumbent Republican presidents Eisenhower ('56), Nixon ('72) and Reagan ('84) carried West Virginia, the 2000 election was the first since 1928 (Herbert Hoover) in which West Virginians backed a non-incumbent Republican for president. 

The Bush campaign named its key leaders for the state, co-chair Bill Phillips Jr and executive director (then "director of organization") John H. McCutcheon II, back in April 1999 when it was still an exploratory effort.  Phillips and McCutcheon had served as campaign manager and deputy campaign manager, respectively, for Cecil Underwood's successful 1996 gubernatorial campaign; Phillips has been described as "the Lee Atwater of West Virginia politics."  Not wanting to rely on the standard Republican party apparatus, they set out to create a mirror organization.  A network of 17 regional chairs was in place by year's end (formally announced in Dec. 1999).  The May 9 primary came and went, and the work of building the network of county chairs and precinct chairs continued.  They communicated extensively by e-mail.  Phillips, McCutcheon and others did all this work on a volunteer basis.

McCutcheon asserts that West Virginians are "fundamentally very conservative;" they are pro-life and pro-gun but have tended to vote Democratic since the Great Depression.  He also argues that Democrats "essentially have abandoned non-farm rural America."  Donna Gosney, executive director of the state Republican party, identifies four major issues in the campaign as: partial birth abortion, gun control, mountaintop removal and foreign dumping of steel.  Gore was on the "wrong" side of each of these.  For example, in his book Earth in the Balance, he is critical of coal and heavy industry.  Steelworkers in the Northern Panhandle have been angered by the Clinton-Gore administration's failure to protect their industry from foreign dumping. 

In McCutcheon's view Gore's people nationally did not believe he could lose in the state.  "[Their] inbred arrogance allowed usto fly under the radar," he said.  By the time they realized there was a problem -- Gore's first visit to the state came on Oct. 27 -- they "were in full defense mode."

See also:
Tom Hamburger.  "A Coal-Fired Crusade Helped Bring Crucial Victory to Candidate Bush."  Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2001.

The United Mine Workers, with about 35,000 members in West Virginia, are a substantial force in the state.  Because of concerns about Vice President Gore's views on coal and global warming, the United Mine Workers of America put off endorsing him until Sept. 20, 2000; UMWA was the last AFL-CIO affiliate to endorse Gore.  Gore addressed the union's concerns in a letter of Sept. 14, and within a week UMWA international president Cecil Roberts announced the endorsement from Charleston. 

Other Candidates

Political Parties
WV Republican State Committee
Chairman: David R. Tyson
Exec. Dir.: Donna Gosney
Office: 1620 Kanawha Blvd, East, Suite 4B, Charleston
WV State Democratic Executive Committee
Chairman: Pat Maroney
Exec. Dir.: Debbie McCormick
Office: 405 Capitol St., Suite 501, Charleston

Libertarian Party of West Virginia
Chairman: Richard Kerr
In Nov. 2000 the party ran candidates for Governor, Secretary of State, United States Senator, United States House of Representatives (all three districts), and many legislative and county offices.

West Virginia Mountain Party
Denise Giardina, a writer who teaches at West Virginia State College, ran for governor (10,416 votes out of more than 645,000 cast).

Natural Law Party of West Virginia
Randall Ashelman, president of Coolfont (Berkeley Springs), ran for Governor (1,301 votes out of more than 645,000 cast).

Copyright 2000, 2001  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.