Last month, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the West Virginia Democratic primary — 51 percent to 36 percent.
But last week in Charleston, at the state Democratic convention in the race for chair of the party, the candidate who supported Hillary Clinton — Chair Belinda Biafore — defeated the candidate who supported Bernie Sanders — Vice Chair Chris Regan.
Morgan County Democrat Bibi Hahn says that Regan was ousted despite the fact that he “has done more to attract young Democrats — he and Bernie together.”
“Chris Regan has energized everybody — he has a great blog that everybody reads,” Hahn said. “He came out early for Bernie — and eventually, so did West Virginia. It’s important to weigh in the side of your state instead of your party.”
But on June 11, the state Democratic Party executive committee did the opposite — and voted 38 to 26 to re-elect Biafore as state chair — and to oust Regan as vice chair.
Before the vote, in a speech to the executive committee, Regan ripped the party’s establishment, led by Senator Joe Manchin and Manchin operative Larry Puccio.
“Our people are suffering,” Regan told the convention. “Our job is to feed and take care of them, not to feed and take care of ourselves.”
“The executive committee is elected by all the Democrats, from all the districts of the state,” Regan said. “It is supposed to be the supreme governing authority for the Democratic Party. But that does not occur. Instead, the committee is told, every once in awhile, that only one or two particular Democrats matter, and it must give its authority away and let the few dictate every decision.”
“We know what the results have been,” Regan said. “Doubtless we are going to talk about unity. And unity is important. But it is a false unity when all it means is that a few powerful people get everything they want. Unity means bringing everyone on board.”
“In December, Larry Puccio told me that if circumstances allowed, he would have his candidate not only for chair, but for vice chair when this election rolled around, and therefore I would be gotten rid of. That’s what he means by ‘unity’ — we are united when he gets everything.”
“Let’s unite around something else. Let’s unite around a party that is for all the Democrats and not just the powerful few. Let’s unite around a party for all the places in West Virginia, including southern West Virginia and the eastern panhandle, that have no representation on our board. Let’s unite around a party that lives for the people out there — yes at the expense of the people in here — and not the other way around. Let’s unite around embracing the future of our party and the state, instead of working endlessly to go back to the past.”