CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Longtime incumbent Treasurer John Perdue gets into controversies.
Although he helps run the state Housing Development Fund, he and his wife sold Mason County land for a senior housing complex to be built by a former Housing Development Fund employee who gets millions in Housing Development Fund loans and grants. We don't know why the state Ethics Commission approved this dubious arrangement. A federal investigation was launched, and the Housing Development Fund paid $330,000 to private lawyers to cope with it. The Housing Development Fund concealed various records about the situation.
Also, Perdue takes many thousands in campaign donations from his taxpayer-supported state government staff. It's legal, but unseemly.
Further, it's disturbing that he continued a longstanding practice of hiring regional representatives who, in effect, provide him a political network around West Virginia.
Still, Perdue has a wealth of experience in state government, and manages his department well. After working in the Agriculture Department 15 years, then serving as Gov. Gaston Caperton's budget chief for eight years, Perdue was elected treasurer in 1996.
A decade earlier, former Treasurer A. James Manchin was forced from office because he lost $279 million of state funds through improper bond investments. No such messes have occurred under Perdue.
Perdue grew up in Dog Fork Hollow in Boone County and attended West Virginia University.
Meanwhile, his Republican challenger, state Sen. Mike Hall of Putnam County, is intelligent, dedicated and qualified.
The Gazette abstains from this race and hopes that readers will make informed choices.