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Kanawha race has new faces

Kanawha Valley voters have a few new choices this election season.

First, a three-member district represented by Delegates Tim Armstead, Patrick Lane and Ron Walters, all R-Kanawha, has been divided up.

And Walters and Lane have opposition, as does Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha.

Lane and his Democrat challenger, Virginia "Ginny" Moles, and Walters' Democrat opponent, Clint Casto, attended a Daily Mail editorial board meeting Thursday.

Lane and Moles are vying to represent the newly drawn 38th District, which covers parts of Kanawha and Putnam counties.

Lane, 37, of Cross Lanes said he wants to stay in the House of Delegates to continue pushing for legislation that will make it easier for businesses to create jobs.

"I think we've had some successes in those areas over the years, in large part driven by the voices that come out of the minority caucus because we certainly push the conservative, fiscally responsible agenda," Lane said.

Moles is a retired state and county tax official. She's also a former member of the Air Force and Air National Guard.

She served during - but not in - Vietnam. In the early part of her career, she was one of only a handful of females in her field.

"So that's been part of my record in life, to stand up for women, and I do that every day," she said.

Moles, 63, of Nitro, has a host of union endorsements, including the AFL-CIO and the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. She also has the backing of West Virginia Free and Planned Parenthood, which both support abortion rights.

Lane has fought unsuccessfully to require voter ID laws, which he said are important to guaranteeing rights at the polls.

But Lane said he was not aware of any specific case in West Virginia of voters falsifying their identity to vote. Still, Lane said, without a voter ID law to catch such a person, "How do you prove that person isn't who they say they are?"

He said a voter ID law would not disenfranchise seniors or the poor.

But Moles said voter fraud is not a problem in West Virginia - rather it's the shenanigans that happen around elections.

"I think we have election fraud and not voter fraud," Moles said.

Casto said he had faith in his neighbors when they head to the polls.

"Any time we look suspicious on our neighbors, it's a bad time," he said.

Casto is challenging Walters in the 39th District.

He said he's running to "to give back to the community that's been so nice to me and my family."

Casto, 39, of Charleston, worked at a pawnshop and for Ticketmaster. He is endorsed this year by West Virginians for Life.

Asked about finding funds to repair roads, Casto vowed not to raise the gas tax.

Neither Walters nor Poore could attend Thursday's meeting because of prior obligations.

Poore, a Democrat in the 37th District, is facing a challenge from Mountain Party candidate Derrick Westly Shaffer.

Contact writer Ry Rivard at ry.rivard@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryrivard.

 


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