West Virginia 5th Senate District Race Heating Up

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The race for West Virginia's 5th District Senate race has drawn lots of attention.

Sen. Evan Jenkins and Judge John Cummings have gone head-to-head on the airwaves -- Cummings running attack ads and Jenkins running on the defense in his ads.

But this is a three-man competition with Scott Cody Regan rounding out a race to the finish.

Without question, their campaign ads have dotted commercial breaks for weeks. Jenkins is running for reelection of his Senate seat, and former Cabell County Circuit Court Judge John Cummings is running to replace him.

"I think I can do a better job than Mr. Jenkins," Cummings said. "I think I can be more responsive. I think I'm more people and labor oriented than he is and more social oriented and very conservative and business oriented. I think I can do a better job representing people."

Jenkins countered by saying, "I’ve had the honor of representing Cabell and Wayne counties, and I'm proud of the record this past year. We had a very successful session attacking the prescription drug crisis."

But the Democratic race between the two turned sour several weeks ago when Cummings launched a negative ad toward Jenkins. One of the issues -- did Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship support Jenkins’ Senate campaign?

"What I do know is that John Cummings is not being honest with the voters. Blankenship has not contributed one penny to any of my state senate races," Jenkins said.

Cummings said, "By supporting Jenkins in his 2000 judicial campaign ... that indicated (Blankenship) thought he'd be a good, strong conservative to represent his views."

As far as the issues, Cummings is pro labor and business.

“I just want be more open and try to work on compromise," he said. "There is no inconsistency between business and labor. It's a compromise situation. One needs the other, and I think I can help. No one can do anything alone; it's always a mass effort."

Jenkins, who's running for his third term as state senator, can boast several leadership positions including the chair of the Interstate Cooperations Committee and vice chairs of Transportation and Banking and Insurance.

"Early in my service, I championed liability reforms that saved health care for our area," Jenkins said. "My opponent and the personal injury lawyers don't like my campaign."

But, there is a third candidate in this race. Scott Cody Regan may not be well-known locally, but he’ll tell you he’s made his mark internationally.

"I've worked with governments, royalties and heads of states all over the world," Regan said. "I've worked in 11 industries, 18 businesses. I'm well educated and well trained. I'm not associated with any corporations; I am independent."

Regan is an international arts administrator who's pioneered the field around the world. But he has some issues locally where he thinks he can make a difference.

The top issue is non-discrimination in the workplace.

"It hurts business and the employee, and it costs way too much,” Regan said.

He asked, "Why is it that the major cities of West Virginia are dying and you have to say have my politicians done anything to make change? What's going on? Why are these cities dying and why are the people with the funds and the creativity not living in West Virginia to make things better?”

There is no candidate running on the Republican ticket. That means the winner of Tuesday's Democratic race for West Virginia State Senator in the 5th District will win the seat.

If you'd like to learn more about the candidates, we've made it easy for you to check out their websites. Just go to our Featured Links here at WSAZ.com.

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