West Virginia Working Families Party has endorsed congressional candidates Richard Ojeda (WV-3) and Kendra Fershee (WV3), along with a strong slate of candidates for the state legislature, including Sarah Duncan (HD 11 – Roane County), Brianne Solomon (HD 14 – Mason County), Sandy Shaw (HD 28 – Beckley area), Amanda Estep-Burton (HD 36 – Charleston), Danielle Walker (HD 51 – Morgantown), Richard Lindsay (SD 8 – Charleston). The growing political powerhouse is also supporting Amy Goodwin in her run for Charleston Mayor. West Virginia Working Families Party will mobilize its grassroots supporter base to work for endorsed candidates in the general election. Support includes canvassing to educate and turn out voters; a texting program; candidate training; and campaign consultation. The full list of endorsed candidates is here.
These endorsements and commitment to support candidates follows the May primaries, where more than two-thirds of Working Families Party’s endorsed candidates prevailed in their races. WV Working Families Party created a targeted, intentional electoral program to build on the energy of the teachers’ strike and with the aim of reshaping the West Virginia Legislature in the image of its citizens.
“The primary showed that West Virginians are rejecting the business as usual politics in our state and the hunger we have for new leadership,” said Ryan Frankenberry, state director of the West Virginia Working Families Party. “We’re going into the general election with candidates who have strong local support in districts that were ceded to Republicans. And we’re not just supporting every Democrat — we’re supporting working families Democrats who speak to the every day needs of residents and will change politics on the local, state, and federal level.”
Richard Ojeda, the District 7 state senator and US Army veteran who emerged as a people’s champion during the teacher’s strike, is running for Congress on a platform to build an economy that works for all, ensuring healthcare access, and addressing the opioid crisis. Ojeda won more than 50 percent of the primary vote in a four-way race and will face pro-Trump state legislator Carol Miller for the open House seat.
“I am proud to be endorsed by the West Virginia Working Families Party,” said Richard Ojeda. “The Working Families Party stood side by side with our public employees during the work stoppage and have played a crucial role in motivating and helping grassroots candidates all across the state.”
Kendra Fershee is a law professor and family law attorney who is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. David McKinley. She is running on a platform of stable employment, access to healthcare, quality education and working for all residents, not just the 1%. Fershee dominated the Democratic primary, despite being vastly outspent by Ralph Baxter. McKinley, who receives most of his campaign contributions from PACs, has received top grades from the NRA and the National Right to Life Committee, while voting in line with the Trump administration 98 percent of the time, including on the disastrous so-called tax reform bill.
“West Virginians deeply value freedom, and we deserve the freedom to stay in the place we love,” said Kendra Fershee. “To do that, we need stable employment, universal healthcare, and quality education for all of our people. I am thrilled to have the support of Working Families Party, and I can’t wait to work together to make sure every single person has the freedom they deserve.”
After this year’s teachers’ strike, West Virginia Working Families Party saw a hunger for leaders who would actually represent residents, not industry and the richest. From elected officials who took principled stands during the strike, to people who were inspired to challenge the racist, kleptocratic Trump administration, to residents who saw the power created when working people came together during the strike, Working Families Party endorsed a large and exciting class of candidates.the minimum wage, grant earned sick leave to workers, and other measures to improve life for working families. In 2017, the Working Families Party backed more than 1,000 candidates for local and state office in 23 states and won in two thirds of its races.