WHEELING - Consumer spending is rebounding this election year, but it hasn't made it back to where it was prior to the 2008 elections, Rep. David B. McKinley told Ohio County Republicans on Tuesday night.
The local congressman was the keynote speaker for the GOP's "Meet the Slate" event at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Wheeling. He questioned the policies of the Obama administration, especially as they pertain to the economy.
"In 2008, consumer spending was $102 a day," McKinley said. "Today, it is down to $62. Consumers are sitting back. They are not quite sure we have the right solutions in place."
Photo by Joselyn King
Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., speaks at the Ohio County Republican Party’s “meet the slate” event Tuesday at the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling.
And people are switching their buying habits. Most consumers typically shop at stores such as Sears, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch - companies that have closed stores across America, McKinley said.
"It's a real concern who is going to make it through this," he said.
Other Republican candidates also spoke. John Raese was the GOP candidate in the 2010 special election for Senate, and lost to Democrat Joe Manchin. Raese is again running for the Senate seat, and he indicated he will be more aggressive in this election.
"My father always told me it's OK to make a mistake - just don't make the same mistake twice," Raese said. "The reason I lost the senate race is I didn't answer negative advertising. I made a mistake. That's not going to happen this time. I'm going to base my campaign on taxes - because we need utility before taxes ... I'm going to base it on defense. And the worst thing, I'm going to base it on 'Obamacare,' because it needs repealed and I want to repeal it."
Bill Maloney lost his bid for governor last year in a special election to Earl Ray Tomblin. Maloney is running for governor again this year, and said West Virginia needs strong election and ethics reforms.
"I lost my campaign by 7,500 votes - and 6,000 of those were in Logan County," Maloney said. "There's something wrong with that."
Tomblin makes his home in Logan County.
Allen Loughry, candidate for the state Supreme Court of Appeals, has written a book on elections in West Virginia. He agreed with Maloney that the Logan County numbers were perplexing.
"Earl Ray Tomblin won 92 percent of the vote in Logan County ... you don't get 92 percent of the vote unless something is awkward," he claimed.
Steve Connolly, currently an assistant prosecutor in Putnam County, is running for West Virginia treasurer. The 37-year-old said the Republican party could benefit in the future from his youth.
"There are 170 employees in the treasurer's office and many are making $100,000 a year," Connolly said. "And there are multiple people making $40,000, and I'm not sure what they do other than drive the treasurer around the state."