Randy Yohe Published

2024 Gubernatorial Candidates Join In Political Forum

Four men and a woman at a podium on a stage.
Four candidates for the Republican nomination for governor speak at the forum.
WV Chamber of Commerce

Speaking before the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce summit at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, and a live television audience, the four leading Republican candidates on the 2024 primary ballot were asked about West Virginia’s declining population, size of government, education and tourism.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he was studying what works in neighboring states and would implement that information in a first 100-day plan.  

“We’re going to make sure that on the issue of taxation, on the issue of regulation, on the issue of licensing, on the issue of workforce, West Virginia is going to win against all those states,” Morrisey said. 

Candidate Chris Miller owns the Dutch Miller Auto Group. Miller said the state needs to improve its technological efficiency and leverage its rich natural resources.

“We have an abundance of coal, we have an abundance of natural gas, we also now have the potential for nuclear energy, and we have this incredible amount of water,” Miller said. “Why don’t we use that as the foundation for all of our economic growth and development.”

House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Chair Moore Capito described himself as an architect of the legislative supermajority and said local leaders know best. 

“When I’m governor, we’re going to start off on day one by entering into an engagement tour where we go to every single local and county government and talk to them about what they need,” Capito said.

Secretary of State Mac Warner said he was the sole veteran and teacher in a race where he has the widest range of experience.

I’m an Eagle Scout, graduate of West Point, WVU College of Law, I hold two master’s degrees,” Warner said. “I have lived a life of service both in the military and with the U.S. State Department.”

All four candidates said education would be a priority.  

Warner said in his experience at West Point, they posted your grade point average weekly in every subject, and that was an inspiration to work harder. He said as governor, he would extend that accountability.

“I propose we do look at ratings of some sort,” Warner said. “But deal with the professionals, determine what is the best form of the rating system, and then watch it, benchmark it and then see whether we approve or not.”

Morrisey defended his work in expanding school choice. He said as governor he would expand it even further.

“I want to make sure that money follows the child much more aggressively,” Morrisey said. “West Virginia will always have the broadest school choice law in the country, that’s number one. Number two, we’re going to have to build on the success of charter schools, we need to do things differently.”

Capito said teachers are overwhelmed with so many things that they weren’t trained to do. He said the state should continue to provide more supplemental help in our early education classrooms. 

“We know that kids learn to read from the time they’re born to the third grade and then they read to learn from then on,” Capito said. “If they’re not reading to learn after third grade, we’re falling behind. So let’s put tools in place to succeed and they’ll reward success.”

Miller said the state education system is too administratively “top heavy.”

“We need to get rid of this big, bloated layer of bureaucracy that soaks up all the resources before the money flows down into the classroom,” Miller said. “We need to focus on making the kids’ lives better, to focus on making sure they have all the resources that they need.”  

One Republican candidate will emerge when voters cast their ballots. No Democrat has declared to run yet, but Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has given indications he will soon announce his candidacy.  

The 2024 West Virginia Primary is May 14th.