Moran Says Improving West Virginia Is Everyone's Responsibility
At the Red Shamrock farm in the red and gold hills of Preston County, David Moran gives more of a western vibe than a political one. He wears a cowboy hat and stable boots, and he loves showing off his alpacas and sheep. Moran is a farmer and engineer. But this year, he’s also hoping to be the governor of West Virginia.
As the candidate representing the Libertarian Party of West Virginia, Moran believes that individuals have the right to live as they wish, and that the role of government in their lives should be as small as possible. It’s a young party in West Virginia - This is Moran’s second time running for governor as a libertarian. When he ran for the first time, in 2012, his main goal was to win at least 1 percent of the vote to qualify the Libertarian Party of West Virginia as a major party. He ultimately won 1.34 percent. This year, Moran says he’s running to address the problems the state faces.
"We are in many ways limiting ourselves with what we can do. We are West Virginians, one of the poorest states in the United States. We’re either 49 or 50 depending on whether Mississippi beats us," he said. "It’s not because we live in the mountains, it's not because we’re a resource-rich state, it’s not because we’re lazy or anything like that. It’s because we’ve allowed ourselves to forget that we are responsible for making our way and for improving a lot of this state."
That message of personal responsibility is reflected in Moran’s position on education and drug abuse. He’s against Common Core educational standards, and when it comes to opioid addiction, he says he would decriminalize certain drugs while assisting those who are addicted to harder drugs.
"It’s something we brought upon ourselves because we allowed ourselves to become addicted. We allowed it because we’ve been demoralized," he said. "We can’t wage wars on drugs, we can’t just say, don’t do it. We have to ask, 'Why?'"
The latest statewide MetroNews poll shows Moran at 5 percent, which for third party candidates is a big milestone because it factors into which parties are invited to debates. Moran says that while Democratic candidate Jim Justice and Republican candidate Bill Cole have big leads, he is competing for the voters who are considering third-party candidates.
"You see that Jim Justice is polling at about 45 percent, and Bill cole is polling at 35 percent. That’s 80 percent, right? That leaves 20 percent uncommitted or willing to consider," he said. "I do see that as a big success. Yes."
Moran has 20,000 extra miles on his car while driving around the state to campaign. He says he doesn’t have any connections in government or with corporations, so he just talks to the people. But at the end of a long day on the campaign trail, farm work is the perfect way for him to relax.
"It’s a good combination. If you’re going to be in public and doing public service, then this is a very, very nice way to complement that," he said. "If you just sit with these animals for a while, and sit out here and read a book in a field and let them wander arund you, it would take years off your life. It is wonderful."
Moran estimates that he’s already spoken to about 65,000 West Virginians, but he isn’t stopping there. Early voting is underway and Moran is making some last campaign stops in the next few days leading up to Election Day. That peaceful moment on the farm will have to wait just a little longer until the votes are tallied next Tuesday.