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A Safe Endorsement Strategy

April 6, 2011

Raking in a big endorsement is usually worth some bragging rights for a candidate. But what if you and your main challenger score the same endorsement?

In an unusual move Wednesday, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce PAC endorsed two Republican candidates in the gubernatorial primary: former Secretary of State Betty Ireland and businessman Bill Maloney.

"Several of the candidates in the Republican primary are very well qualified to be our next Governor," said Chamber President Steve Roberts in a release. "We have endorsed Bill Maloney and Betty Ireland because both are leaders in the business community and understand the struggles of starting and growing a business in West Virginia like very few people. We believe if selected as the Republican nominee, Bill Maloney or Betty Ireland will be able to wage an effective and aggressive campaign this fall."

Roberts said that the organization had endorsed two candidates in the same party previously, in state Senate races.

Ireland has more political experience than Maloney, but finance reports filed with the state on Friday showed he outraised her.

The Chamber PAC also endorsed acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) in the Democratic primary.

"Our endorsement of Governor Tomblin is a result of his proven record of advocating for the issues that are most important to the citizens of West Virginia," Roberts said in a release. "We have 30 years of experience working with Governor Tomblin. He has been a steady voice for lower taxes, improved government services, better education and a friend of job creation and economic development."

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