PNS Daily Newscast - January 22, 2019 

A new report says the really rich get richer. Also on the Tuesday rundown: A new effort to clear the smoke from Kentucky schools; and businesses get tips on being family-friendly.

Daily Newscasts

Reed Residency Fight Escalates In Eastern Panhandle Politics

At a court hearing in Charleston last week, the judge ruled that GOP House of Delegates candidate Tally Reed, right, could stay on the ballot. (Dan Heyman)
At a court hearing in Charleston last week, the judge ruled that GOP House of Delegates candidate Tally Reed, right, could stay on the ballot. (Dan Heyman)
May 7, 2018

Charleston, W.Va. — A House of Delegates candidate is accused of lying about where she lives - and that's roiling politics in the Eastern Panhandle.

Republican Tally Reed changed registration to Hedgesville in January, just before announcing a run for the open 59th District seat. But sworn court filings by neighbors say Reed still lives seven miles down the same road in Berkeley Springs, in the 58th District.

Russell Mokhiber, whose website Morgan County USA broke the story, said critics "left, right and center,” are furious at Reed and local Republican insiders.

"They see this as a power play by the establishment Republicans,” Mokhiber said. “And this is a battle both against the Republican Party and within the Republican Party."

The Hedgesville home belongs to a real estate company owned by Reed and her husband. They say they turned the utilities on in March 2016 and moved items in. Reed called the issue "a distraction," from her "pro-jobs message."

The West Virginia Constitution requires legislators to live in their district a year before their election. But House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles represents Reed's old district, the 58th. Mokhiber said Reed is an ally of Cowles, and Cowles may have recruited Reed because she would support his likely bid for Speaker.

But opposing Cowles is the local branch of the very conservative Liberty Caucus, led by Republican Delegate Mike Folk. Mokhiber said Folk is backing the court challenge to Reed appearing on the ballot. And he said there is no love lost there:

"Between the Liberty Caucus people led by Mike Folk and the establishment Republicans led by Daryl Cowles, the House majority leader,” he said. “And the driving force behind the litigation is Mike Folk."

Mokhiber said Folk is using the Reed case to raise his own profile ahead of a general election bid against the Senate Minority Leader, Democrat John Unger. But Mokhiber said the Reed case could give the Democrats an unexpected opportunity in the 59th.

"If Tally Reed wins on Tuesday, this will continue to be an issue through the election year,” Mokhiber said. “And for a very Republican seat, if this becomes an issue, does this put the seat in play for the Democrats?"

Reed faces former Delegate Larry Kump in the primary. The courts are keeping Reed on the ballot for now, because voting has already started. If she wins Tuesday but is then disqualified, the Republican Executive Committee would pick a replacement. Mokhiber said the committee is likely allied with Cowles.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV