Are we to conclude that Martin, now a thirtysomething lawyer with a wife and son, should be forever disqualified from seeking public office -- or should it reflect badly that Republican challenger Chris Walters has an anonymous supporter or supporters who went to great lengths to compile, copy and stealthily distribute hundreds of pages of "evidence" and distributed them to numerous media outlets?
The only thing this episode proves is that citizens of the 8th Senatorial District will experience a steep decline in the quality of representation, regardless of which of the two candidates succeeds retiring Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha ... but we knew that already.
Perhaps the best example of substance being lost to mudslinging was the response and counter-response to the RGA ads.
The spots, of course, are near-complete distortions. One takes the legislation passed to pay off the state's $4 billion unfunded liability for future health-care costs for retired state and public school employees and claims it is "Obamacare," the other uses a mine reclamation bill that had the backing of the coal industry to attempt to portray Tomblin as anti-coal.
Both bills, passed in the 2012 regular session, also had wide bipartisan support: Both bills passed the Senate unanimously, and both passed with a majority of Republican votes in the House.
Ironically, when the state Democratic Party started making calls to Republicans to remind them their representatives had, in fact, voted for the bills in question, the Maloney campaign decried them as "unlawful, dishonest, dirty political tricks."
For all the mudslinging theatrics, the substantive question remains unanswered: If Maloney had been governor, would he have signed or vetoed the bills in question?
If the latter, how would he propose to deal with the repercussions -- an OPEB liability that soon would eat up more than $600 million a year of state funds through a pay-as-you-go system, and having the feds breathing down his neck to clean up abandoned surface mines -- while stuck with a critically under-funded state reclamation fund?
Finally, it may not be an old-fashioned whistle-stop tour, but give Republican Supreme Court candidate John Yoder credit for campaign creativity with his upcoming "Voter for Yoder Victory Train Ride."
Yoder and 14 supporters will be riding the New River Gorge excursion train from Huntington to Hinton and back on Oct. 27.
Not only will Yoder have a captive audience of several hundred riders for three hours in each direction, but will have a three-hour layover to work the crowd attending Railroad Days in Hinton.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.