Bill Maloney has been spending so much time with the Pennsylvania RNC delegation that you’d think he was running for governor of the Keystone State instead of West Virginia.
This morning he spoke at the state delegation breakfast, which also included a speech by former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Santorum.
His own delegation is staying at a hotel next door, so spending time with Pennsylvania’s GOP loyalists is convenient. It’s also smart if he wants to raise enough money to wage a general election battle against incumbent Democratic Earl Ray Tomblin in a state that leans left.
West Virginia and Pennsylvania are part of the same regional economy and they share interests in energy regulation, so it makes sense to get Keystone Republicans onboard with his campaign, Mr. Maloney said in an interview after this morning’s breakfast.
“You’re a big energy state, too,” he told delegates during the breakfast. “If you do the right thing and start at the state level we can be an energy independent America.”
But it’s not just about shared interests in energy policy, Mr. Maloney said. A lot of companies headquartered in Pittsburgh, such as PPG Industries, have plants in West Virginia, he said.
Mr. Maloney said he’s been able to meet with Pennsylvania GOP leaders who are more adept at campaign fundraising than their counterparts to the southwest. They’re also helping him organize upcoming fundraisers in Pittsburgh and Lehigh County, he said.
“When you’re staying just in West Virginia it’s hard to raise money,” he said.
West Virginia ranks 49thth among states in terms of both per capita income and median household income. Pennsylvania – which ranks 22nd in per capita income and 24th in household income – is a good place to turn for help because of its proximity.
Mr. Maloney says he can see Pennsylvania from his house. (The last Republican candidate who talked about cross-border views from her home state didn’t fare so well in her bid for office.)