The Mingo County Democratic Executive Committee has a new chair thanks to a state appointment.
At the meeting to elect new officers for the Committee, both Lonnie Hannah and Greg “Hootie” Smith were nominated and received seven votes each.
With the vote tied, the issue went to the West Virginia Executive Committee in Charleston.
According to the bylaws of the Democratic Party, the tie can be broken by the chair, or he can choose to appoint a third party to the position.
The state chair, appointed Richard “Dick” White to chair the Mingo Committee.
“The rules from the state, as of 2007, say the chair of the state committee appoints a chair,” White said. “They can choose anyone they want. It doesn't have to be anyone who ran for the position.”
Those who attended the Friday evening meeting of the Mingo Committee expressed their frustration with the process.
“Why have a committee if our votes don't count?” asked David Jones, a committee man from the Magnolia District. “It shows [the committee in Charleston] has no respect for us to choose for us. Before I would have let this happen, I would have changed my vote.”
Greg Smith said the governor had contacted him about the issue, and offered him a choice.
“Gov. Manchin called me and said he could flip a coin to choose between Lonnie and me, or a third, neutral party could be appointed to position,” Smith said. “In the interest of uniting the party in Mingo County, I ask a third party be appointed.”
Those committee members attending Friday’s meeting said although they were disappointed, they realized the decision had been made, and they had a chairman in place.
“We could stand here and argue this all night,” White said. “But we have work that needs to be done. We have an election in November, the candidates are already out in the field. We need to get election officers chosen, we need to get started.”
The committee agreed.