Quote of the week: "I was surrounded by socialists last night. I had them on two sides of me." -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Raese, making an impromptu analysis on his radio network of his debate with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mountain Party candidate Bob Henry Baber.
Sen. Manchin has been called a lot of things over the years, but until last week, socialist was not one of them.
Finally, speaking of debates, Mountain Party Chairwoman Charlotte Pritt called to complain about the inherent unfairness over the exclusion of gubernatorial candidate Jesse Johnson from Tuesday's state Broadcasters Association debate -- particularly since the Mountain Party has been recognized as a bona fide official political party by the secretary of state's office since 2000.
(That is some Catch-22: The WVBA excludes Mountain Party candidates from the statewide televised debates because they're not considered legitimate challengers ... but they can't gain legitimacy as long as they're excluded from the debates.)
The argument of time constraints might wash in some past Democratic primaries, when there have been multiple candidates on the ballot, most fitting the fringe category. An hour-long debate among three candidates doesn't seem so difficult by comparison.
Meanwhile, Pritt believes it's time for the Mountain Party to have a representative on the state Elections Commission -- and indicated she would be more than happy to accept an appointment by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Actually, there is a vacancy on the commission, and the law simply says that of the governor's appointees (the secretary of state is the fifth member), no more than two may be of the same political party.
Currently, the commission has two Republicans (Rob Rupp and Gary Collias), and one Democrat (Bill Renzelli), so the vacancy would have to be filled by either a Democrat or Mountain Party member.
However, Pritt would have to resign as party chairwoman, since the law prohibits appointing public officials, candidates, members of political party committees, or anyone with a financial interest in the manufacture, sale, or distribution of voting machines.
Still, she certainly would liven up Elections Commission meetings.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.