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Former West Virginia Dem Leader Switches Parties, But State GOP Isn’t So Sure About Him

Doug Skaff, a former Democratic leader in the state House of Delegates, paperwork to run for office as a Republican.
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The following article, Former West Virginia Dem Leader Switches Parties, But State GOP Isn't So Sure About Him, was first published on Flag And Cross.

A former Democratic state legislator in West Virginia wants to be elected secretary of state and has changed his party enrollment to do it.

Doug Skaff, a former Democratic leader in the state House of Delegates filed the initial paperwork required to run for the office as a Republican next year, according to the Associated Press.

At least seven Republicans have shown an interest in running for the job, according to the Intelligencer.

Skaff, state Delegate Chris Pritt, Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood, former state Sen. Kenny Mann; former state Delegate Ken Reed, Steven Harris of Buckhannon and Wesley Self of Sand Fork have indicated they may run for the office.

Skaff was not quite met with open arms by the West Virginia Republican Party.

“Skaff was a reliable vote for his caucus’ liberal agenda and a regular vote against many pieces of conservative Republican legislation that we now call law,” West Virginia Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Elgine McArdle said.

“The West Virginia Republican Party recognizes the philosophical nuances that can exist within the Party and welcomes those who genuinely believe in our cause; however, Republican voters are sometimes tasked with differentiating between ‘philosophical nuances’ and ‘diametric ideological opposition,’” McArdle said.

“Now that Skaff is labeling himself as a ‘Republican,’ despite his storied liberal record in the House, the upcoming primary is one of those times,” she said.

Democratic state Delegate Mike Pushkin, who is also chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, also raised his eyebrows at Skaff’s party change.

“While I appreciate Doug finally putting his cards on the table about his long-rumored, politically expedient party switch, I’m surprised he would try to reinvent himself as a right-wing conservative in the process,” Pushkin said.

Pushkin noted that Skaff opposed the GOP on issues such as guns and abortion.

“I know Doug has long been intoxicated by the idea of winning a statewide office,” Pushkin added.

“Still, his candidacy could leave Republican primary voters with a hangover when they find out about his actual voting record. Nevertheless, we wish him well in all his affairs,” Pushkin said.

Skaff said two of his top issues are ensuring safe, secure elections and supporting county clerks,  according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

“It shouldn’t be a partisan position, even though, technically, it is,” Skaff said, speaking to the job of the secretary of state. “We have fantastic county clerks. You need to empower the county clerks to do their jobs, give them the tools and resources they need to be successful, and get out of the way.”

Skaff said election workers need all the support they can get.

“Elections are becoming more and more challenging, longer hours. It’s harder to find people to work,” he said. “We need to do whatever we can to support those folks and find more money, tools and resources so we have plenty of poll workers to face the new challenges of today.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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