CHARLESTON, W.Va.--The Mountain Party has tapped former Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber to be its nominee in the Oct. 4 special gubernatorial election.
The party unanimously nominated Baber, 60, following a convention Sunday in Sutton. Former Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Jesse Johnson was also a potential nominee in the convention, but he withdrew his name from consideration to allow for a unanimous vote for Baber.
Baber was the first Mountain Party member ever elected to public office when he won the 2004 Richwood mayoral election. He had lost out to Johnson for the party's gubernatorial nomination earlier that year.
He acknowledged that being a third-party candidate is an uphill battle.
"It's a tough way to go — you don't have a lot of finances; you've got to do a lot yourself," he said. "Our party is a party about the truth, and sometimes telling the truth is not the most popular thing in the world to do."
While Johnson represented the party in the past two gubernatorial campaigns, as well as for the special U.S. Senate election last year, Baber viewed his nomination as a sort of passing of the baton in the party.
"I love West Virginia with all my heart, and it's time for the state to stop looking backwards and digging its heels in," Baber said. "It's time for us to start looking up towards green.
"We've got to create West Virginia's future and we really have the opportunity to do that. We're one of the few states that is an energy producer, and we've just to start taking a little off the top to start the green initiatives of the future."
Baber said as governor he would roll out a "green energy new deal," aimed at developing more environmentally sound energy resources in the state.
"We are hooked on coal, the whole country's hooked on coal and oil, and we're going to be for the foreseeable future," he said. "But we absolutely need to start a plan to get off coal and oil. We should have done this a long time ago, and now it's time to start."