Dave Mistich Published

West Virginia Community Organizer Jumps in 2020 Gubernatorial Race


Charleston community organizer Stephen Smith has announced his candidacy for governor in 2020.


Smith, who is running as a Democrat, recently stepped down as director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. The organization has focused on raising the minimum wage, child heath care and other policies aimed to help working class families.



“In some ways, the central idea of this campaign is: What if the values of service and generosity that we see in our neighborhoods were also the values that governed the statehouse?” he said.

Smith said he plans to help organize candidates for other statehouse offices as part of a larger movement. It’s his first time running for office.

In October, Republican Gov. Jim Justice said he may seek another term. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Justice have yet to file as a pre candidate paperwork for 2020. The website lists Smith as a candidate for an undeclared office.

As of Monday, five others have filed early to run for the state’s highest office — two Republicans, two Independents and one candidate from the Constitution Party.