Trying to pigeonhole West Virginia political candidates based solely on their party affiliation is a mistake. The late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd was the classic example. Some liberal presidents and members of Congress assumed Byrd was one of them, solely because he was a fellow Democrat. Byrd swiftly set them straight.
House of Delegates member Ryan Ferns, a Democrat representing Ohio County, also has defied being labeled. He certainly is a Democrat - but he is a conservative one who sometimes votes with Republicans.
It came as no surprise, then, that some members of the Ohio County Republican Executive Committee said last week that unless their party finds a good candidate for the House, they will support Ferns for re-election next year.
Of course, GOP leaders would prefer one of their own party. But again, Ferns has shown he cares more about what is good for the people of Ohio County and West Virginia than for party discipline. It is only realistic that Republican leaders, in turn, recognize Ferns is not an ultra-liberal Democrat.