Will W.Va. GOP Nightmare Come True?


This is perhaps the West Virginia GOP’s worst nightmare – waking up May 11 to newly-elected Supreme Court Justice Darrell McGraw.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. When the GOP took over the state legislature last year, one of their biggest reforms was to make judicial elections non-partisan.

But since the election is decided in one vote, during the primary and without a runoff, the controversial former Attorney General could be elected with only a small plurality of votes.

“Whoever has the most on Tuesday will win, even if it is just 21 percent,” said Laurie Lin, conservative columnist, on The Front Porch podcast.

She said Republicans disarmed themselves at the very time when being a Republican was becoming a plus.

“I think there’s a lot of private griping in the Republican Party about why, why did we do this?” she said.

On this week’s podcast, liberal columnist Rick Wilson agrees with Lin that doing away with partisan elections for judge was a mistake. But they’re not sure the Legislature will revisit the law, since many incumbent judges support it.

Also on this show, we talk about the race for Governor, and what happens after the primary.

“Whoever the Democratic nominee is going to be dogged constantly by, ‘Do you support  Hillary Clinton?’ Trump is going to be very popular in this state,” Lin said.

However, she said, “It will be harder for Jim Justice to be made out to be anti-coal. The guy owns a bunch of coal mines.”

“Another factor will be, how did you like what happened or didn’t happen in the legislature last session,” Wilson said. “Will you remember in November?”

Subscribe to “The Front Porch” podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you’d like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @

The Front Porch is underwritten by The Charleston Gazette Mail, providing both sides of the story on its two editorial pages. Check it out: