(02/14/2011)
Fourteen people want to be the governor of West Virginia, running to fill the short-term before the 2012 primary and general election.

Democrats in the race are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Jeff Kessler, House Speaker Rick Thompson, Kanawha County resident Arne Moltis, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, and state Treasurer John Perdue, according to the state's elections website. Running as Republicans are former Secretary of State Betty Ireland; Randolph County Sen. Clark Barnes; Putnam County prosecutor Mark Sorsaia; former Berkeley County Delegate Larry Faircloth; Jackson County Delegate Mitch Carmichael; and Monongalia County residents Cliff Ellis, Ralph William Clark and mine-drilling consultant Bill Maloney.

Charleston Gazette political reporter Phil Kabler, while admitting it's a guessing game, is predicting Republican Ireland could be the state's next governor since most WV Democrats are DINOs (Democrats in Name Only).

As for the Dems, Kabler says it's more likely a northern candidate will lead the pack, since the voters have declined to elect a southern WV governor since the 1960s.


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