PARKERSBURG - A Wood County man has been elected to one of two new vice chairmanships in the West Virginia Republican Party.
Among the first orders of business will be to press Democratic candidates about whether they will vote for President Obama, said Rocky Peck, a traveling equipment salesman and former Wood County Republican Party chairman. Obama is the presumed Democratic nominee and will run against Mitt Romney, the presumed GOP nominee.
"I think they should tell everyone who they are going to vote for," Peck said.
Peck and Lynn Staton of Berkeley County were chosen vice chairman by the executive committee during the party's state convention on Saturday in Beckley. The two positions were added in a bylaws change sought by the new chairman of the party, Conrad Lucas, Peck said.
The new vice chairman will be involved in initiatives and projects from the chairman, he said. Lucas believed the positions were necessary to bolster the support from the existing five vice chairmen from the three congressional districts, north and south, Peck said.
"Especially during a presidential election," Peck said.
Peck will be on the personnel committee which has several responsibilities including recruitment and encouraging voting and voter registration, Peck said.
"No meeting has been set yet," Peck said. "That will probably be first on the plate."
Peck is a 1984 graduate of Parkersburg High School and a 1988 graduate of Marietta College where he majored in marketing.
"Rocky is a good friend, a hard worker, a committed Republican and a true asset to our party," Lucas said.
Peck and Staton were approved the executive committee on Lucas' recommendation. A prime reason to expand by adding the positions was to increase the geographic diversity of the cabinet, Lucas said.
Wood County is a major Republican influence across the state and someone from the county in an executive-level post was essential, Lucas said. The last vice chairman of the party from Wood County was Bob Fish, who retired.
"Wood County is always a player," he said.
Besides president, voters will elect a senator, statewide officers and two judges to the Supreme Court.
Obama, a Democrat, has low ratings in West Virginia and Republican candidates, notably Senate candidate John Raese and gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney, have been trying to connect incumbents Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Tomblin as supporters of the president. Neither are going to the Democratic National Convention.
The major candidates should say for whom they are going to vote, Peck said. The state Democratic Party has already determined members should support the ticket, he said.
"They need to get off the fence and say what they are going to do," Peck said.
Republicans also discussed the party platform, which underwent much discussion and review, Peck said. That was unusual, but welcome, he said.
"This year everybody was interested in the platform," Peck said.
In addition to the vice chairmen and the platform, the party also selected Kris Warner and Melody Potter as national committeemen. Wood County Republicans who attended the convention were Peck, Chairman Greg Smith, Tyler Ohrn, Tom Stark, Len and Linda Rabatin.
Peck is hitting the ground running. Among the functions he has committed are fundraisers in Ritchie and Harrison counties and the Parkersburg Homecoming where voters will be registered.
"I'll up and do the deed," Peck said.