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Bill Maloney announces campaign for W.Va. governor

Brittany Erskine

A Morgantown drilling consultant who helped develop a plan last year to free 33 trapped Chilean miners says he is running for governor because the state needs leadership in the Capitol.

Emphasizing his background and success in the private sector, Bill Maloney formally announced his campaign Wednesday. Maloney will lead the field of eight on the Republican ballot for the May 14 primary election.

A self-described conservative, Maloney spoke in Morgantown before a crowd of family, friends and supporters from across the state.

"We need fresh ideas in Charleston," he said. "I feel I can do it."

Maloney referred to his experience growing a successful enterprise and noted that in West Virginia "we have roadblocks here to growing business" and need to remove them.

Maloney called himself a job creator and cited the drilling business he co-founded in Morgantown 26 years ago.

When Maloney started the business, he was one of two employees; when he sold his share in 2006, the company had 150 employees.

Last year, Maloney worked with a Pennsylvania-based company to develop the drilling technique used to successfully rescue the Chilean miners, who were trapped a half-mile underground for 69 days.

In the GOP primary, Maloney will face Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, Putnam County prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, former Berkeley County Delegate Larry Faircloth, Delegate Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, Monongalia County residents Cliff Ellis and Ralph William Clark, and former Secretary of State Betty Ireland.

Candidates vying for the Democratic nomination include acting Gov. and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, D-Logan, acting Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, Kanawha County resident Arne Moltis and state Treasurer John Perdue.

Jesse Johnson, of Kanawha County, and Bob Henry Baber, of Glenville, have filed pre-candidacy papers for the Mountain Party. The Mountain Party will choose its nominee at a convention.

This year's special gubernatorial election is to fill the remaining term of former Gov. Joe Manchin, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.

The Associated Press