CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There's one group of winners and losers that we haven't talked about much from the general election, and that's the political consultants.
Biggest winner overall Nov. 6 was probably the Manahan Group, which, as previously noted, did the TV spots in Allen Loughry's surprise state Supreme Court victory.
Additionally, Manahan Group did Treasurer John Perdue's re-election campaign, and shows up among the consultants on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's re-election. (That's because Chris Stadleman was campaign spokesman.)
At the other extreme, Larry LaCorte's Rainmaker Media may have had the toughest night, as client Tish Chafin went from what many pundits (not this one) thought would be a victory to win the second Supreme Court seat on the ballot to finishing last in the four-person field.
Locally, Rainmaker also did TV spots for Chris Morris in the 35th Delegate District race. The spots, in which Morris literally ran to show why he was running for office, were good, but evidently not good enough to win a seat in the four-member district.
Interestingly, two Republicans in statewide races used the same national media consultants -- Strategic Media Services of Washington, and Rising Tide Media of Alexandria, Va., -- but with very different outcomes.
Patrick Morrisey won the attorney general's race, undoubtedly benefiting from millions of dollars' worth of special interest attack ads against Attorney General Darrell McGraw, while Bill Maloney got trounced in the governor's race -- perhaps because the political action arm of the Republican Governors' Association scaled back its attacks on Tomblin this time around.
Maloney also hired Greg Thomas' Targeted Communications Strategies Group, and a whole host of operatives, including Seth Wimer, Bryan Hoylman, Donnie Adkins, Joe Harmon, Brad Headley and Kent Sholars, to no avail.
Of course, Tomblin had some big-gun national consultants on his payroll, including Struble Eichenbaum, out of Washington, Media Strategies and Research in Fairfax, Va.; and the Global Strategy Group in New York.
Back during the Hurricane Sandy coverage, I was grousing about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doing media updates from that state's massive, modern Emergency Operations Center, while West Virginia is stuck with a tiny, outdated EOC crammed into the basement of the Capitol's East Wing.
That could be changing, now that the state has awarded a $685,000 contract to ZMM Architects to design a new EOC, either through a build-out of the Neumedia Building at the Northgate office park, or with new construction near the National Guard headquarters at Coonskin Park.
Design specs call for a fairly large 65,000- to 70,000-square-foot facility.
Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Lester said the current facility is inadequate, particularly if frequent, severe weather events are, in fact, the "new normal."
The current set-up, which is about the size of two typical living rooms put end-to-end, can get pretty crowded, with representatives of the National Guard, state Homeland Security, Division of Highways, National Weather Service, State Police and other agencies occupying the site, around-the-clock, often for days on end.