We stood up and took notice on Monday upon learning that a leading Democrat in the West Virginia Senate had decided to endorse Republican nominee Gov. Cecil Underwood for the state's chief executive office.
Any time a member of the opposition party comes out in favor of the re-election of a Republican governor, we are amazed. But when an individual like State Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Leonard Anderson, D-Summers, crosses party lines, we surely consider it a key endorsement.
Anderson's praise of Underwood was glowing. "Governor Underwood has a proven record of job creation, a vision for southern West Virginia, values consistent with our people and more than enough energy to finish what he started four years ago. He is a man of honor and integrity who has worked honestly and effectively with our Legislature to get things done for our region and our state."
Perhaps it is not often that you would hear a representative from a southern county such as Summers make such a reference to an individual from a northern county like Underwood, who is from Sistersville in Tyler County -- not to mention one from "the other side" politically.
The governor's response was equally complimentary. "I am honored to be endorsed by a West Virginian with the courage to see beyond party labels to do what his conscience dictates. Sen. Anderson has been an outstanding advocate for the people he represents and a forward-looking legislator working to improve our state."
In view of Underwood's stance on mountaintop removal mining, the Democrat's support was even more astounding.
This shows that in a state such as West Virginia, where there's a virtual one-party system in force and Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one, it is not unheard of for a Democrat to change his mind at the polls.
Robert F. Stealey
Telegram Editorial Board chairman