West Virginia Democratic Party

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West Virginia Democratic Party
Chairperson Belinda Biafore
Headquarters Charleston, West Virginia
Ideology Liberalism
Social liberalism
Political position Center-left
National affiliation Democratic Party
Colors Blue
United States Senate
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United States House of Representatives
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Executive offices
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West Virginia Senate
16 / 34
West Virginia House of Delegates
34 / 100

The West Virginia Democratic Party is the state level chapter of the United States Democratic Party in the state of West Virginia.


The state of West Virginia granted itself statehood after its people, through a state constitutional convention, became a free state and broke away from the slave holding state of Virginia in 1861 during the first year of the Civil War. Article IV of the U.S. Constitution requires consent of the newly formed state, the original state, and Congress. Since the Virginian government was ruled illegitimate as it was a member of the Confederate States of America, no approval was required and after Congressional consent, self-statehood was gained and political party formation prospered.[1]

The West Virginia Democratic Party was started as a coalition of Pro-Union Democrats, Pro-Confederate Democrats, and former members of the Whig Party. After 1872, its political dominance flourished when restrictions that disenfranchised former Confederates were struck from the state constitution.[2]

West Virginia Democrats in government

The West Virginia Democratic Party controls all but one (Attorney General) statewide executive offices and holds minorities in both the West Virginia House of Delegates and the West Virginia Senate. Democrats hold one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats and none of the state's three U.S. House seats.

Governor of West Virginia, Earl Ray Tomblin

Democratic electorate

Democratic and Republican parties have dominated the American political scene for close to two centuries. One party often overpowers the other and controls the government as a whole. In these times of dominance, the party in power holds a majority of seats at national and state levels and commands the loyalty of the electorate for an extended period of time. In West Virginia, the Republican/ Union supporting party held political power from 1863 to 1872. The Democrats took power in the 1872 elections and held it until 1896. Republicans once again had control in 1872 until 1932. During the Great Depression, The Democratic Party began its dominance and continues to control most of the state and local offices to present day.[3] Although, it should be noted that the West Virginia Republican Party had its most successful election since 1928 during the 2012 cycle where it enjoyed a gain of 11 House of Delegates members, 3 Senators, an Attorney General and another Supreme Court Justice.

The scope of Democratic dominance in West Virginia

To measure success of a party, one looks at the extent and depth of the party's electoral success. Out of all the 121 terms of statewide office that have been regularly elected since 1932, only seven were lost by the Democrats. Three of those seven terms were won by the same person, Arch A. Moore Jr. Moore Jr. is the only Republican candidate from West Virginia to fare well in state and national office races. Since 1930, Democrats have held majorities in both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature.[4]

West Virginia voters almost always prefer the Democratic candidate for national offices. They have sent only two Republicans to the U.S. Senate, one in 1942 and the other in 1956. Out of the 168 contests for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1932 and 1994, Republicans have won just twenty-three times. Six of those victories were secured by Arch A. Moore Jr. The people have voted for a Democratic President in every election except 1956, 1972, and 1984.[5] Since the 2000 election however, Republican candidates for president have enjoyed electoral victories in the state.

Today's party organization

The party organization is governed by the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee. This committee comprises its leadership. The Chairman is Belinda Biafore, the Vice Chairman is Christopher Regan, and Curt Zickafoose serves as the Executive Director.[6]

The party platform

Every presidential election year, the West Virginia Democrats issue their party platform. The platform declares what the party believes in, supports, and recognizes. The platform reflects what the party would like to see accomplished after the election from the candidates whom the party supports to win respective offices. Many issues are covered in the most recent 2008 platform from the party's website. They include:[7]


  • The right to a safe, disciplined, learning environment
  • Educator, parent, and community ownership of schools
  • Ensuring that state funding for education goes to public schools
  • Smaller class sizes
  • The right of every eligible West Virginian to obtain quality, accessible post secondary education
  • Collegiate focus on preparing students for a global economy


  • A strong economy relies on good roads, water & sewer, airports, water ways, internet access, and phone service.
  • Federal, state, and local governments must invest in quality infrastructure.
  • Small business is the backbone of our economy and we should encourage entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The state can help attract new business and aid existing employers.
  • Ensuring that West Virginian farmers have a strong safety net and that they can achieve profitability in the marketplace.
Employee rights
  • Urging the state to pass pertinent safety laws to further protect West Virginia's workforce.
  • Urging state and local officials to support collective bargaining for improved wages, benefits, and working conditions.
  • Every working person should be able to retire without the worry that Social Security will be under funded or eventually phased out.
  • Supporting competitive, sustainable minimum wages for all workers to afford them a better quality of life.
  • Equal pay for equal work.
Creating a level playing field
  • Supporting trade with other nations, so long as there is a level playing field. American jobs should not be sacrificed to countries that do not enforce adequate safety, child labor, minimum wage, and environmental laws.
  • Discouraging the practice of outsourcing
  • Preserving, protecting, and improving he civil justice system so that anyone who is harmed by the misconduct and negligence of others can obtain justice in state courtrooms.

Law and order

  • Supporting the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - the right to bear arms
  • Seeking appropriate alternatives to incarceration
  • Fair and humane laws that are enforced to protect the legal residents of the State of West Virginia and the United States of America
  • Adequate, sustained. and effective monitoring of funding

Good government

  • Ethical conduct of all elected officials.
  • Responsible spending and balanced budgets.
  • Ensuring that governmental operations strictly follow federal and state laws, codes, and/or guidelines.
  • Legal, clean elections.
  • Adequate polling places and improved public education about candidates running for office.


  • Supporting energy independence that uses "clean coal" technology to fuel and power America and the expansion of West Virginia's energy resources to include all forms of clean and renewable energy.
  • Supporting enforcement of the Clean Water Act to help preserve the environment.
  • The reclamation of mined areas should be complete.

Health and social issues

Children and families
  • Supporting the right to safe, quality daycare and after-school care for children.
  • The right of consumers to choose in-home care over institutional care.
  • Full funding of effective intervention services for families in crisis.
  • An aggressive, effective, and fair child support collection system.
  • Supporting programs and laws, such as the "Violence Against Women Act" to reduce and eliminate domestic violence.
  • Senior citizens are an integral part of our society.
  • Committal to helping senior citizens retain their independence, dignity, and standard of living.
  • Recommendation of an increase in geriatric education for medical students in all state medical schools.
Health education
  • Support of wellness centers, well lit and safe outdoor playgrounds, hiking, biking, and walking trails.
  • Restoring full school physical education programs.

Educating citizens about healthy eating habits and wellness programs.


  • Guaranteed funding for veterans' programs now and in the future, making such funding a mandatory, rather than discretionary, budget item to ensure viability from year to year.
  • It is the responsibility of the United States and the State of West Virginia to provide accessible, quality care for service members who return home from military service on a daily basis.[8]


  1. west Virginia Statehood http://www.wvculture.org/history/statehoo.html
  2. West Virginia para 1-2 http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1875
  3. Brisbin,Richard. West Virginia Politics and Government. University of Nebraska Press, 1996. p.34 para 3.
  4. Brisbin,Richard. West Virginia Politics and Government. University of Nebraska Press, 1996. p.35 para 1.
  5. Brisbin,Richard. West Virginia Politics and Government. University of Nebraska Press, 1996. p.35 para 2.
  6. http://wvdemocrats.com/contact.html
  7. http://wvdemocrats.com/aboutus.html
  8. http://wvdemocrats.com/aboutus.html

External links