In the special election for governor held this past Oct. 4, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the Democratic nominee, defeated Republican Bill Maloney and several other challengers to be elected our state's actual governor.
The statewide margin was 50 percent for Tomblin and 47 percent for Maloney. The remaining 3 percent was divided between six other candidates (three on the ballot and three write-ins).
Bob Henry Baber, the nominee of the Mountain Party, got 2.3 percent of the vote in Jefferson County. He actually got more votes (155) than the margin between Tomblin and Maloney (137).
Tomblin lost Jefferson County by two percentage points, 49 percent to 47 percent. But he won our delegate district by almost six points over Maloney, 50.7 percent to 44.9 percent. Of the remaining five and a half percentage points Baber of the Mountain Party got a smidgeon over 3 percent.
In the Shepherdstown Magisterial District Tomblin defeated Maloney by the landslide margin of more than 16 percentage points. He got 55.9 percent to Maloney's 39.5 percent. Baber got 3.7 percent, leaving less than a percentage point to be divided among the others.
Soon-to-be-Gov. Tomblin gets to enjoy a term of a whopping 14 months. There will be a primary this coming May 2012, and a general election in November of 2012.
It's been a difficult situation for acting Gov. Tomblin and the legislature these last 13 months. Tomblin became acting governor when then-Gov. Joe Manchin was sworn in as United States senator (replacing the irreplaceable Robert C. Byrd) in November of 2010.
Many parliamentary systems are geared to uncertainty as to how long a given party or prime minister will remain in office. This is not true of presidential systems like that each of the 50 states in the good old US of A.
But we've been dealing with a parliamentary type schedule since Manchin left the governor's office. The result of each election we have gives us certainty for approximately the next six months.
As I've said before, we must do something about this. We have to change the state constitution so there's no more of this "acting" nonsense. Meanwhile, I commend the calmness and coolness shown by Tomblin under these uncertain circumstances.
As to the immediate future, I suspect we will have a special session of the legislature in November to consider a statute implementing new regulations for drilling in the Marcellus shale, the large natural gas field located 8,000 to 10,000 feet under most of West Virginia. Rumor has it that the committee comprised of members of the State Senate and House of Delegates is very close to a compromise, which will br proposed to the rest of us.
I have no idea what the contents of such a compromise might be. So I therefore have no idea whether I'll support it or not. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I intend to call the new governor's attention to the healthy vote he got in Shepherdstown. He'll need it again this coming May 2012 and again in November should he win the Democratic nomination (which I think he will). And Shepherdstown and Shepherd University need a parking garage.