MCT REGIONAL NEWS
By Jim Bissett
The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Jan. 30--IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE -- just West Virginia politics.
During the course of his career as an aviator and astronaut, Beckley native Jon McBride has piloted everything from the Goodyear blimp to the space shuttle Challenger.
One thing he won't relaunch, though, is his bid to move into the West Virginia Governor's Mansion.
In 1996, he lost the Republican nomination for governor to Cecil Underwood, who went on to win that race.
"No, I won't be doing that again," he told a reporter for The Dominion Post on Thursday at WVU, where he spoke on the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. McBride, who flew combat missions in Vietnam, went on to join NASA and pilot Challenger's first mission in 1984.
Twenty years before his launch into outer space, he was a newly minted engineering graduate from WVU.
"I'm just about ready to retire full time," said McBride, who became a venture capitalist after he finished his work with the U.S. Navy and NASA. "I have 11 grandchildren. I'm going to be spending time with them."
Neil Berch, a WVU political science professor who closely watches state races and the candidates who get their names on the ballots, said he'll always remember McBride, the politician, for being a serious contender on the Republican side of a West Virginia that very much bled blue back then, in terms of its local and state races.
Well, there's that, and McBride's campaign slogan.