In a close race, the special election for governor of West Virginia was called on Tuesday night for Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, who has been residing in West Virginia’s governor’s mansion since former governor Joe Manchin became Senator Manchin.
To be sure, Tomblin’s victory against a political newcomer, businessman Bill Maloney, was aided by the multiple union endorsements he’d received prior to the election.
His union endorsements came despite the fact that, just a few months earlier, Earl Ray Tomblin was West Virginia union bosses’ nemesis:
West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue says he wants to set the record straight on gubernatorial candidate Earl Ray Tomblin‘s statements that he’s a friend of labor.
“Of the 106 pieces of legislation that labor has ask for Tomblin’s support he has said No-70 times, giving him the dubious honor of being – the most anti working family – member of our senate today!
“This acting governor is no friend of working families or labor unions as he claims.”
Of course, union bosses were okay with Tomblin being ‘anti-working family’ and ‘no friend of labor’ once it was clear Tomblin was the Democrat’s post-primary nominee.
“We appreciate Earl Ray Tomblin’s efforts to support working men and women as a member of the Legislature and as acting governor,” West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenny Perdue said in a news release from Tomblin’s campaign. “We look forward to helping him win on Oct. 4.”
It also probably helped that Tomblin ran as an anti-Obama Democrat, as Slate reminds us:
This was an election that could never be repeated at the national level. West Virginia is one of the last states with a strong, conservative base of registered Democrats. Tomblin, like Manchin, ran and governed far to Barack Obama’s right. (I was watching the election returns with an AFL-CIO member who reminded me that Tomblin has a sub-40% issue rating from the union.) Tomblin, like Manchin, won the support of the Chamber of Commerce and the NRA — and even with that, he had to prevail in a dogfight against a first-time candidate. What was once a 30-point lead was whittled down, probably, to 2 points.
Fortunately, with or without union support (he’ll probably have it), West Virginia’s voters get to decide all over again in 13 months.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com