Cumberland Times-News

November 7, 2012

Republicans make huge gains in W.Va. House

Lawrence Messina
Associated Press

— CHARLESTON, W.Va — Republicans in West Virginia’s House of Delegates want to create an intermediate appeals court, amend property tax laws and pursue other major changes after Tuesday’s general election nearly erased the Democrat’s 15-seat majority, House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said Wednesday.

The GOP’s 2013 agenda also will target regulations and public school bureaucracy, while revamping the way the state funds roads in part by tapping general tax revenues, the Kanawha County Republican told The Associated Press. He noted that Republican delegates have introduced such proposals during previous sessions, including this year’s.

“We’ve come up with creative ways to address these issues, but they’ve been blocked by the Democratic leadership,” said Armstead, who ran unopposed Tuesday. “We’re hoping that the leadership got the message that voters sent last night.”

But while the GOP surged in the House, Democrats remain firmly in control of the state Senate with 25 of 34 seats.

Voters also re-elected Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

“It isn’t necessarily a bellwether that the world has changed and that everything they advance will pass,” said Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall.

Republicans saw their share of delegates in the 100-member House swell from 35 to at least 44, according to unofficial results. They upset at least five incumbents.