Robocalls anger Republicans in Kanawha County - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Robocalls anger Republicans in Kanawha County

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A series of robocalls some Kanawha County voters received Sept. 23 have angered Republicans.

According to Delegate Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, an unidentified party made calls in his and other Republican represented districts criticizing GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Maloney for recent TV ads ran by an independent group targeting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. According to Armstead, the calls accused Maloney of throwing Republican legislators "under the bus" and implied Republican legislators and Maloney have different legislative priorities.

However, none of this is true, according to the Maloney campaign.

"These desperate, dirty tricks might be the norm for a career politician like Earl Ray Tomblin," Maloney campaign manager Seth Wimer said in a news release. "But the voters of West Virginia deserve better. Bill Maloney looks forward to working with the entire Legislature, including Republicans, to bring a brighter future to West Virginia by encouraging job creation, fixing our budget problems and ending the corruption so pervasive in Charleston."

In the TV ad, the Republican Governor's Association says Tomblin never fought the Environmental Protection Agency in court. However, Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman said in a Sept. 21 news release that Tomblin has participated in several legal actions to support the coal industry.

Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, said the calls were made to set voters straight on the issue. He said legislation to sue the EPA was passed by legislators of both parties.

"We felt that it was necessary to make these calls because one of two things has taken place," he said in a statement. "Obviously the Republican Governors Association has thrown the majority of Republican legislators under the bus for Maloney's personal gain who voted for this responsible legislation, or they have purposely attempted to mislead the public by not letting them know that this was bipartisan legislation, supported by most Republican legislators, that they are attacking in their ads."

Armstead, who serves as the House Minority Leader, said in his statement that Tomblin's leadership has failed to address issues such as tax and legal reform and education.

"Instead of trying to improve the lives of our citizens, their supporters are using old style tactics to try to divert attention from the Democrats' own failure to lead," Armstead said. "Our Republican legislators stand firmly behind Bill Maloney. With Bill as our governor and our Republican leaders continuing to fight for bold reforms, we will make the change truly needed to rebuild our economy."

Rob Cornelius, a spokesman for the West Virginia Young Republicans, on Sept. 25 filed a formal complaint with the West Virginia Secretary of State. The complaint named Puccio and Derek Scarbro, executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Party, as well as the West Virginia Democratic Executive Committee, and requests a full investigation, prosecution of wrongdoing and a phone apology to those who received the robocalls. Cornelius contends the calls violated West Virginia State Code by failing to disclose the person or group making the communications.






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