Ken and Tally Reed Go Shopping for a House of Delegates Seat in West Virginia

Ken and Tally Reed had a problem.

Tally and Ken Reed

Tally wanted to run for House of Delegates.

Tally Reed and her husband, Morgan County Commissioner Ken Reed, live in Berkeley Springs, Morgan County — which is in the 58th District.  

The current member of the House of Delegates representing that district is Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-58).

The Reeds didn’t want to run against Daryl Cowles.

Cowles is part of the Republican establishment in West Virginia — and the Reeds don’t want to fight the establishment Republicans in Charleston — they want to join them.

So the Reeds picked an address in the neighboring 59th District — the district represented by Saira Blair (R-59). Blair will not be running for re-election this year.

According to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, last month, Tally Reed changed her voter registration address from her home in Cowles’ 58th district in Berkeley Springs to a house about seven miles down the road in Blair’s 59th district in Hedgesville.

Then on January 25, 2018, Tally Reed filed with the Secretary of State to run for the House of Delegates in the 59th.

But Tally and Ken Reed don’t live in the 59th district. They live in the 58th district. They pay property taxes on their home in the 58th. And until last month, Tally Reed was registered to vote in the 58th.

The West Virginia Constitution provides that “no person shall be a senator or delegate who has not for one year next preceding his election, been a resident within the district or county from which he is elected.”

The West Virginia Supreme Court has held that “the term ‘residence’ is synonymous with the term ‘domicile’ for election law purposes” (White v. Manchin, 1984.) and that “domicile is a combination of residence (or presence) and an intention of remaining — if domicile has once existed, mere temporary absence will not destroy it, however long continued.” (Lotz v. Atamaniuk, 1983.)

West Virginia statutes do not clearly define the terms “residence” and “domicile” and Senator Patricia Rucker (R-Jefferson) has introduced legislation this session (SB 376) aimed at clarifying the terms.

SB 376 lists a number of factors that may demonstrate domicile, including the address listed on the person’s vehicle registration card, the address listed on the person’s driver’s license, the address where the person receives state or federal benefits, and whether the person pays property or income taxes from that address.

The Reeds did not respond to a message seeking comment for this story. But they did send along a press release touting Tally Reed’s Hedgesville roots.

“Delegate Blair has done a fantastic job representing the district,” Tally Reed said in the release. “We both grew up in Hedgesville and are proud Hedgesville High School graduates. We share very similar values and principles, and I am confident that I can continue her strong leadership.”

After graduating from Hedgesville High School in 1987, Reed attended the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy and obtained her degree in 1993.

That same year Reed started her career as a pharmacist.

Tally met Ken in pharmacy school and married him in 1993. They have four children.

Reed began her career working as pharmacist in a chain pharmacy and then spent three years at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Martinsburg, where she served as an outpatient pharmacist, inpatient pharmacy supervisor, and acting chief of pharmacy.

Shortly after leaving the VA, Reed decided to join her husband in running their business. In 2000, Reed opened the Hedgesville location of Reed’s Pharmacy.

“I was really excited to be opening our Hedgesville store and to serve my hometown,” Reed says. “Launching a business from scratch is daunting. We had just had our third child, and I can confidently say that without the support of the community, family, and friends, I would never have achieved a fraction of my success as a pharmacist, business owner, wife and mother.”

Reed says her platform will largely focus on economic reform, infrastructure, and education reform.

“I am very optimistic about our future in West Virginia,” added Reed. “If we keep our heads down and focus on the core principles of creating jobs, making our government run more efficiently, and decreasing our dependence on federal money, there is nothing we can not accomplish.”

Reed and her husband currently own and operate Reed’s Pharmacy locations in Hedgesville, West Virginia,  Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, Springs Mills, West Virginia, Hancock, Maryland, and Berryville, Virginia.

Tally Reed is also the manager of a new restaurant in Berkeley Springs owned by the Reeds – The Canary Grill.

Whether Tally Reed can overcome any legal challenge to her candidacy based on residency is unclear, but resources apparently will not be a problem.

In 2014, Ken Reed spent more than $500,000 of his own money on an unsuccessful bid in the Republican primary for U.S. Congress.

In a seven way race, Ken Reed came in second place, garnering 7,848 votes (22 percent) to Congressman Alex Mooney’s 12,678 votes (36 percent).

In the Republican primary on May 8, Tally Reed will face off against former Delegate Larry Kump, who held the seat from 2010 to 2014.

Kump was defeated by then 17-year-old Saira Blair in 2014 in the Republican primary. Kump garnered 729 votes (45 percent) to Blair’s 875 votes (55 percent).

The only Democrat in the May 8 primary is newcomer and recent West Virginia Law School graduate John Isner.


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