Republicans Suspicious Of Former West Virginia Democratic Leader’s Switch

Former West Virginia Democratic leader in the House of Delegates recently announced his switch to the Republican Party and intent to run for secretary of state. Some GOP members, however, are not sold that his motivations tie in with the party’s conservative values.

Seven Republicans currently express interest in running for the position, and now Doug Skaff has filed initial paperwork to do the same.

Some in the party point to roadblocks Skaff previously threw up against their legislation. One skeptic is West Virginia Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Elgine McArdle.

She acknowledged that the GOP “recognizes the philosophical nuances that can exist within the Party and welcomes those who genuinely believe in our cause.”

However, McArdle added that there is a difference voters see between “philosophical nuances” and “diametric ideological opposition.” She noted Skaff’s long and liberal record in the House and added that voters will have to make their own judgments.

For his part, Skaff posted on his campaign website Thursday that we live in an “ever-changing world.” He said he will bring “fairness, transparency and integrity” to the secretary of state’s office — if elected.

Even Skaff’s former colleagues are not sure of what to make of his conversion. Mike Pushkin is the chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party.

He declared he appreciated “Doug finally putting his cards on the table about his long-rumored, politically expedient party switch. I’m surprised he would try to reinvent himself as a right-wing conservative in the process.”

Pushkin observed that Skaff stood diametrically opposed to fundamental Republican principles on guns and abortion. And he hardly stopped there.

The head Democrat slammed his former colleague for being “intoxicated” with the idea of winning a statewide office. He predicted, however, that voters in the Republican primary could experience a “hangover” when they realized what his voting record had been.

Pushkin added, “we wish him well in all his affairs.”

Democrats apparently are not sad to see him go, and Republicans are unconvinced of his sincerity. Skaff may find himself quickly to be a man without a party.