In West Virginia politics, the unwritten rule most candidates live by is the assumption that they are pro-family. Almost every politician in the Mountain State, with the exception of a notable (and vocal) few, will profess to being pro-life because they know that West Virginians value preborn human life.
But the issue of marriage is a more tough one. On the democratic side, they walk a tight rope. They know that the national party platform seeks to redefine marriage and, needing national money to succeed in their campaigns, many democratic candidates just punt the issue, or take the, “if a court ever redefines it, I’ll do something” approach.
Republicans here are a bit better, but unless they’ve been running at the local level (delegate, state senate), there is usually a reluctance (not an unwillingness) to speak to the social issues, beyond declaring themselves to be “pro-life.” When it comes to marriage, if pressed, they will avow support for marriage as one man and one woman, but rarely does that issue make it to their web page or public comments.
Last week, conventional wisdom flew out the window.
Candidate for governor Bill Maloney threw down the political gauntlet to his opponents. With a crowded field, perhaps it was an effort to be noticed, but I do not think so. Instead, could it be that there is a politician that is allowing what he believes in his heart translate to his campaign rhetoric? We shall see.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Last week, Bill Maloney introduced his first campaign radio ad. Frankly, I hadn’t listened to it closely, but this morning I heard it playing on my alarm. As it hit the :40 mark, I heard through my waking stupor something about “life” and “traditional” marriage. If I could muster a thought at that point it was, “Did he just say that?”
You see, while I’ve known several candidates who privately profess to being pro-life, support marriage between one man and one woman, and wish to strengthen West Virginia’s families, few care to say so publicly, let alone nail it down as a plank in their political platform.
Listen for yourself (you can scrub ahead to the good part starting about about :40 in):
Did you catch that? Here’s what it said, “Bill Maloney will work to defend life, protect traditional marriage, and make West Virginia the most family-friendly state in America.”
Impressive rhetoric, but how does he stack up to the rest of the field?
About Jeremy Dys
Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.