After losing the race to represent the Democrats in a special US Senate election, former Democratic politician (and arguably, institution as far as West Virginia is concerned) Ken Hechler has endorsed Jesse Johnson. Johnson is the nominee for US Senate of the Mountain Party, West Virginia’s affiliate of the Green Party.
Salon describes Hechler and his motivation for, at 95, running for Senate:
In his 95 years, Ken Hechler has recorded history from the front lines in World War II, debriefed Hitler’s top commanders before the Nuremberg Trials, advised Harry Truman, marched with Martin Luther King, published several books, been the subject of a documentary, and — somewhere between all of this — served nine terms in Congress and four as West Virginia’s secretary of state…
You say that you aren’t running anyone and that you want to use this race to raise awareness of mountaintop removal from strip mining. Why single out this issue?
I’m not really running for the Senate, I’m running to enable the people of West Virginia to register at the polls their opposition to this devastating practice, which hurts so many people in the valleys when they dump the rocks in the soil and all the things that they’re blasting out of the mountains into people’s front yards.
Hechler received about 17 percent of the vote in the primary. Now Johnson is the only candidate in the race who opposes mountaintop removal, a situation he was also in when he ran for governor in 2008.
The following video was posted on the front page of Johnson’s website:
From the Sunday Gazette-Mail:
“People were voting not against mountaintop removal, but were actually voting against my age of 95,” he said.
Johnson doesn’t have that “handicap,” Hechler said.
“He’s 51 years old,” Hechler said as he introduced Johnson, who also opposes mountaintop removal. “Compare that with a 95-year-old, and you’ll see why you’re going to have a huge outpouring of support for Jesse Johnson.”
Johnson has previously run for governor, U.S Senate and president. He said he would run a grass-roots campaign and stand up to rich and powerful interests.
“It’s time for business as usual to be over,” he said.