Republican Political History of Raleigh County, WV

Explore some history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV.

History is objective in that something real happened. It is subjective in that we often don’t have complete details on what happened, and we have few details about why. History has been used as a political tool since Cicero. At the same time, history provides a fascinating look at our forebears, and why we are where we are today. I have assembled a little history about the Republican Party in Raleigh County, WV. Whatever your political stripe, I encourage you to discover a little bit about the past as a way to inform the future. Politics is tough but it doesn’t have to be hateful.

We are all concerned about coronavirus, civil unrest, and recession. Amidst these worries,  Raleigh County Republicans have some things to be happy about:

  1. As of August 2020, for the first time since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1932, there are more Raleigh County voters registered Republican than registered Democrat.
  2. We have a strong slate of Republican candidates in 2020, from the State House to the White House.
  3. We had an exciting first ever Election 2020 rally at the Epling Stadium in Beckley on 24 September from 5 to 7 pm (see schedule below).

The Republican Party of West Virginia has a well-written and informative article on its history. Political history at the county level is a little harder to find. The Political Graveyard, maintained by Lawrence Kestenbaum, is a valuable source of such information. The West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, also has some wonderful information. Finally, individual voters and leaders in the party such as Joe Long, Julia Long, Lillian Foti, and Stan Norman, provide a wealth of knowledge. Others who worked hard to rebuild the GOP in WV include the Emerson Stover family, the Cantley family, the Delbert Pettry family, Melba Underwood, Linda Sumner and Beverly Lund. If you have more or differing information, please let me know.

Republican Party Chairpersons in Raleigh County[1]

S.S. Sutphin  

  • Member of West Virginia state house of delegates from Raleigh County, 1907-08.
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1917.

Floyd McKinley Sayre (1893-1971)

  • Lawyer
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1940-46.
  • Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1940.
  • Candidate for Presidential Elector for West Virginia, 1964.

Robert Johnson Ashworth (1909-2008)

  • Born in McDowell County, W.Va.
  • Served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1949-54.
  • Alternate delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1956
  • President and part owner, Richmond Cleaners and Laundry.
  • Circuit judge in West Virginia, 1988.
  • Member, Lions; Elks; Moose; Freemasons; Shriners; Phi Delta Theta.

Truman Lynch Sayre (1925-2018)

  • Candidate for West Virginia state house of delegates from Raleigh County, 1954
  • Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1961.

Mrs. Reginald Meyers

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1962.

Carlos Crews

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1963.

Howard L Spears

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1973.

Emerson O. Stover

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1983.
  • Incorporator with Clear Creek Volunteer Fire Department, 1976.

“Pee Wee” Gillis Cornett

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1998.

Joseph Long (1937-)

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 1999-2008, 2011-2013.

Chuck Carpenter

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2008-2010, 2017-2018.

Stan Norman (1949-)

  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2018-2019.

Mark Harris

  • Physician, retired Army Colonel
  • WV Republican. Chair of Raleigh County Republican Party, 2019-present.
  • Alternate delegate for Republican National Convention (COVID-19 canceled), 2020.
  • Emcee of the First Raleigh County Republican Election Rally, 2020 (see below)

Republican National Convention Delegates and Alternates

  • 1924, Cleveland: Brown W. Payne
  • 1932, Chicago: David D. Ashworth
  • 1936, Cleveland: David D. Ashworth, Rosalie C. Muller
  • 1940, Philadelphia: Floyd M. Sayre
  • 1944, Chicago: Brown H. Payne
  • 1956, San Francisco: Robert J. Ashworth, J. S. Butts
  • 1960, Chicago: James K. Edmundson, Eugene L. Scott
  • 2004, New York: Rick Snuffer
  • 2008, St. Paul: Jonathan Rinker, Sarah Rinker, Dereck Severt, Russ Weeks
  • 2020, Charlotte NC (COVID 19 – canceled): Mark Harris selected.

Other Events

  • 2002 we elected Linda Sumner to house. first one in 50 years.
  • 2004 we got our first State Senator Elected (Russ Weeks) and he defeated Senator Bill Wooten (Judicial Chairman.
  • 2004 – State Republican Convention at Tamarack in Beckley, WV.

Campaign Contributions[2]

In the last 4 years (2015-2018), there were 431 contributions totaling $121,133 to Democratic and liberal campaigns, averaging $281 per contribution.

In the last 4 years, there were 516 contributions totaling $647,990 to Republican and conservative campaigns, averaging $1,256 per contribution.

Presidential Votes for Raleigh County, WV[3],[4]

Year Raleigh County
(plurality winner)
Turnout % Regis-tration West Virginia
(plurality winner)
United States
(Electoral College winner)
2020 R 19312

D 19406

2016 Donald Trump-R 55.2 R 17095

D 24299

Donald Trump-R Donald Trump-R
2012 Mitt Romney R 52.8 R 14823

D 29415

Mitt Romney-R Barack Obama-D
2008 John S. McCain R 51.7 R 14117

D 30966

John S. McCain-R Barack Obama-D
2004 George W. Bush R George W. Bush R George W. Bush R
2000 George W. Bush R George W. Bush R George W. Bush R
1996 Bill Clinton D Bill Clinton-D Bill Clinton-D
1992 Bill Clinton D Bill Clinton D Bill Clinton-D
1988 Michael S. Dukakis D Michael S. Dukakis D George Bush R
1984 Ronald Reagan R Ronald Reagan R Ronald Reagan-R
1980 Jimmy Carter D Jimmy Carter D Ronald Reagan-R
1976 Jimmy Carter D Jimmy Carter D Jimmy Carter-D
1972 Richard M. Nixon R Richard M. Nixon R Richard M. Nixon-R
1968 Hubert H. Humphrey D Hubert H. Humphrey-D Richard M. Nixon-R
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson D Lyndon B. Johnson-D Lyndon B. Johnson-D
1960 John F. Kennedy D John F. Kennedy-D John F. Kennedy-D
1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower R Dwight D. Eisenhower R Dwight D. Eisenhower- R
1952 Adlai E. Stevenson D Adlai E. Stevenson-D Dwight D. Eisenhower- R
1948 Harry S. Truman D Harry S. Truman-D Harry S. Truman-D
1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D
1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D Franklin D. Roosevelt -D
1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D Franklin D. Roosevelt-D
1928 Herbert Hoover R Herbert Hoover-R Herbert Hoover-R
1924 Calvin Coolidge-R Calvin Coolidge-R Calvin Coolidge-R
1920 Warren G. Harding R Warren G. Harding-R Warren G. Harding-R
1916 Charles Evans Hughes R Charles Evans Hughes-R Woodrow Wilson-D
1912 [no data] Woodrow Wilson-D Woodrow Wilson-D
1908 William H. Taft R William H. Taft R William H. Taft R
1904 Theodore Roosevelt R Theodore Roosevelt-R Theodore Roosevelt-R
1900 William McKinley R William McKinley-R William McKinley-R
1896 William McKinley R William McKinley-R William McKinley-R
1892 Grover Cleveland D Grover Cleveland-D Grover Cleveland-D
1888 Grover Cleveland D Grover Cleveland-D Benjamin Harrison – R
1884 [no data] Grover Cleveland-D Grover Cleveland-D
1880 [no data] Winfield S. Hancock – D James A. Garfield – R






Election 2020 Rally – Schedule

3:00 PM (1500) – RCWVGOP team shows up at stadium to set up, decorate, etc. Allen Avenue Band sets up

4:00 PM (1600)

  1. Gates open for rally guests
  2. Donation bucket at RCWVGOP table, two floating (Ryan Jacinto and College Republicans handle fund raising).
  3. Final stadium preparations

5:00 PM (1700) – Welcome

  1. Pledge of Allegiance (MDH)
  2. National Anthem (recorded)
  3. Prayer (Mike Tener)
  4. Introduce WVU Tech College Republicans (MDH)
  5. Announcements (President, Ryan Jacinto) – Social distancing, masks available, donation buckets, voter list, concessions, sales (yard signs, other items)
  6. Recognition of Candidates (MDH) – Candidates stand. Our goal tonight is to have fun, and to elect Republicans from the State House to the White House. Thank to our candidates for putting themselves and their families on the line for the benefit of our great nation. Applause
  7. Introduce band (MDH)

5:10 PM (1710) – Allen Ave Band begins

6:00 PM (1800)

  1. Thanks to band (MDH)
  2. Recognition of Veterans (MDH) – veterans stand as their service song is played, clapping from audience, veterans sit down.
  3. Recognition of First Responders (MDH) – fire, police, and emergency medicine personnel stand for Proud to be an American. Clapping from audience.
  4. Video clip from US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (MDH)
  5. Message from US Representative Carol Miller (Victory Project, Kyle Saunders)
  6. Introduce WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (MDH)
  7. Warner 10 min speech
  8. Introduce Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt (MDH)
  9. Leonhardt 10 min speech
  10. Introduce National Republican Committee woman from West Virginia, Beth Bloch (MDH)
  11. Bloch 10 min speech

6:45 PM (1845) – Conclude

Event – almost 50 people showed up, total, including public, workers, and candidates. Very enthusiastic! This is a template for success in the future.

Author: MD Harris Family Institute

MD, MPH, MBA, MDiv, PhD, ThM Colonel, US Army (ret)

2 thoughts on “Republican Political History of Raleigh County, WV”

  1. Good day Mark. Hope you all are doing well. Just an idea for discussion… I joined in a discussion on Facebook referencing the debate Presidential debate. After clarifying a mischaracterization of a remark made by President Trump by focusing on the words said (vs what other people implied) I was told by the individual who originally made the comment “Trump allows racist behavior from white supremacy groups and you can’t tell me otherwise.” It occurs to me that this individual is correct in that I cannot tell her otherwise. I used the facts as they were presented (in this case the words stated) to make a reasoned argument but this approach was rejected in favor of restating their argument based on things that were not explicitly stated. This leads me to consider a question with far greater ramifications than politics… “How does one have any chance of persuading someone else regarding any subject in which the other person disregards the objective in favor of the subjective?”

  2. In their famous ballad The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel sang “still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” What was true in the 1960s is even truer today. Reason and logic, if A=B and B=C, then A=C, offer us a way to minimize the sad tendency of man to hear only what he wants. The underpinning of logical thinking is that objective truth exists, and vigorous and honest efforts on our parts will reveal this truth. At this point in American history, we have denied that objective truth exists at all and denied that reason and logic are useful ways to find it. Rather, concepts such as reason, logic, objectivity, and truth are “oppressive.”

    Our forefathers tried to step outside themselves and objectively evaluate each others’ actual words and deeds, rather than what someone else said about them. They were never completely successful but usually at least partially successful. They could find common ground, learn new truths, allow for personal growth even in those they opposed, agree to disagree, and disagree without becoming disagreeable.

    Addressing your question, no communication can occur without common ground. Sharing a language with another person is one form of common ground. Agreeing on word definitions, usually tacitly, is a second part of common ground. Using the same sources of information (sources of authority) is a third aspect of common ground. The Bible, for example, is a widely used source of authority for Christians. Science, real science and not merely the opinions of famous scientists on topics marginally related to their field, used to be a source of common ground. Agreement how to interpret the accepted source of authority, is a fourth consideration in finding common ground. A fifth and vital part of common ground is that all parties involved have to have enough goodwill to believe that all are engaged in an honest search for truth, which of course, must exist and be discoverable. Goodwill includes understanding that everyone will make mistakes, even us, and such mistakes are not proof of wickedness but rather our fallible humanity.

    When people or groups share these characteristics, they can communicate, and great things can result. In our culture today, we lack most or all of them. So we scream and shout, burn and kill, and wonder why we can make no progress against problems. Neither you nor I could communicate with people such as the lady you mention above. At least in this area, she “only hears what she wants to hear and disregards the rest.” We must take care that we do not do the same.

    Fortunately, it is impossible to live in the world wholly bereft of logic and reason. The lady probably uses both when talking with coworkers or using a recipe. If you both have the time and the inclination, you could start on topics where you share common ground and someday perhaps move to those in which you don’t.

    Thanks for your note.

We love constructive feedback! Please leave a reply.