PARKERSBURG - A Waverly woman and life-long Democrat on Tuesday was named a co-chairman of a campaign group for the Republican nominee for governor.
Toni Fleming with Bill Renzelli of Harrison County will lead the Democrats for Maloney in Republican Bill Maloney's campaign against incumbent Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
"I told him I would do anything I can to help him win," Fleming said. "I got involved with Bill Maloney the first time he ran," Fleming said. "I really liked him."
Maloney is a Morgantown businessman who first ran for governor in a special election in 2011 against Tomblin, a Democrat from Logan County who was president of the Senate, for the unexpired term ending this year.
"He's a businessman. It's like he's in it for the people. He's not in it for the politics," Fleming said. "That's what I liked about him."
This is Fleming's first foray into statewide politics, other than helping state Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants. She is a life-long Democrat.
Fleming believes there are many Democrats who believe as she does and will cross the party line and support the Republican Maloney.
"I think there is," she said. "Of course, you can never tell when you go into the voting booth."
The Republicans are good at publicity of this sort, said Harold Brown, chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party.
"I have to hand it to the Republicans," Brown said. "They don't miss any of the angles."
However, while there's Democrats who support Maloney, there are Republicans who like Tomblin, Brown said.
"There's also Republicans who don't care for Maloney," he said.
The Maloney campaign also issued a release on Tuesday. Fleming cited coal, improving education and job creation.
"In times like these, party labels don't matter," she said. "We need a governor who will take action to solve the problems facing our state."
Maloney was the 2011 Republican nominee for governor of West Virginia. His company designed the apparatus that carried 33 trapped miners in Chile to safety.