Points By Drew Pritt

Is Indiana ’08 a West Virginia ’96 Redux????
May 23, 2008, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Charlotte Pritt 

As I watch the Indiana Governor’s race developing this year I am reminded of a similar situation in West Virginia in 1996, the year my cousin was the Democratic nominee for Governor. First let me give a brief overview of 1996 West Virginia then draw the parallels of what I see developing in Indiana in 2008.

In 1996, then-State Senator Charlotte Pritt bested a field of ten male candidates that included a wealthy State Senator, a prominent prosecutor & radio show personality, the State Treasurer, and other legislators among others. This was my cousin’s second bid, having run second for Governor in 1992, though she slipped past the Attorney General in that race. In the General Election, Charlotte’s primary opponent and runner-up, Joe Manchin III, who had demanded that Charlotte sign a loyalty oath to support the eventual party nominee in debates and who had corralled a lot of party establishment support. He outspent her three to one, although she had raised an amazing $1 million in the primary, which was 10 times what she raised in 1992 to be a runner up to two millionaires in that primary. She had the strong support of the unions, a grassroots effort among many women, and was the first woman ever nominated for Governor in West Virginia. But sexism was dominant and the Governor, Gaston Caperton, Joe Manchin III, and even State Senator Martha Yeager Walker, who succeeded Charlotte in her State Senate seat, sat on their hands. The boys, and the girls who try to be one of the boys, had been beaten by the girls and now they were whining and taking their toys home. Manchin initially went on vacation and refused to help Charlotte Pritt. In the greatest act of hypocrisy, Manchin publicly supported and Caperton tacitly supported a Democrats for Underwood campaign that benefitted the Republican nominee, former Governor Cecil Underwood. The Democratic nominee, Charlotte Pritt, went down 52%-47% in November and then the Democrats recaptured the Governor’s Mansion with a boy, Congressman Bob Wise in 2000, while Manchin made a comeback as Secretary of State, only to turn around and stab Wise in the back in 2004 by supporting a leaking of Wise’s affair with another female and utilizing his campaign organization to defeat Charlotte’s brother, Roger Pritt, the State Highway Commissioner, in a smear campaign as Roger sought to succeed to the Secretary of State’s office.

Word comes now that Jim Schellinger, who was dispatched by Jill Long Thompson in the primary, has gone on vacation. Schellinger chose vacation over a unity rally with Thompson, who is the first woman in her state to be nominated for Governor, and also is a liberal, who doesn’t raise a lot of money, has strong grassroots, and is supported by the unions. Will Schellinger support a Democrats for Daniels effort against Long Thompson in the General or even go a step further like Bruce Lunsford in Kentucky and publicly endorse Mitch Daniels? I also am saddened that former Governor Joe Kernan and former First Lady Judy O’Bannon were absent from the unity rally. Kernan’s wife supports Jill but thats not enough. I was sad when Kernan lost to Daniels in 2004, but get over it man, and support your party and the nominee.


The Joe Manchins and the Jim Schellingers of the world are always “successful businessmen” who by mere use of that term encourage a latent sexism. They infer they as men are better at business then women. They also when they lose are sore losers. They try to cover up their misdeeds with smiles but they are vengeful and bitter. They are usually DINOs in the first place or they would be more than happy to help a woman break the glass ceiling.


The Gaston Capertons and the Joe Kernans have a moral imperative. They have taken the oath but their egoes are threatened. Because they fear the accomplishments they have made in office will be eclipsed by the very nature that a woman will succeed in the office they once held. Their sexism is more deep-seated and its sad because as Governors or even former Governors and titular party heads, they can move money, people, and most of all votes behind the nominee.


The Martha Yeager Walkers and the Judy O’Bannons are the worst kind. They are the Judas’ to their own sex. They know better than anyone how hard it is for a woman to get ahead. But they can’t seem to let another woman get ahead. They think they are deserving of the prize first. So they hold back, sometimes quietly, sometimes overtly. They believe if they hold this woman down then they can get ahead.

Jill Long Thompson has big mountains to climb to become Governor of Indiana. It will be a hard task but she can do it. My cousin had Senator Jay Rockefeller, Secretary of State Ken Hechler, and even President Bill Clinton campaigning for her and she came up short. The people of West Virginia have regretted the election of Underwood and now recently with the scandals of Manchin, there are more and more who ask WHAT IF??? There are bumper stickers touting, “DON’T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR PRITT” on cars even today. Lets hope the Schellingers, Kernans, and O’Bannons of the Indiana Democratic Party come to their senses and get behind Jill now!


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