Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Happened to Candidates for the People, not Political Hacks? The Second Congressional District of West Virginia - a hypothetical case study!


As we prepare to enter the "silly season" of politics and brace ourselves for the onslaught of up to $5 billion in political spending, mostly political ads, did you ever wonder how people are selected to run for office.

There are a variety of ways one used to be a candidate for office, particularly federal office, but the collapse of federal campaign finance laws and the failure of any candidate for president to propose new laws will insure the path to election is lined with cash.

What a pity.  Once upon a time, the two political parties reached out to people who were not career politicians to bring new life to political office and new ideas for people to consider.

Once upon a time, when people were running for office, whether Democrats or Republicans, once elected they actually worked to serve all the people in their state or district.  In fact, they even worked with members of the opposite party to help all people.

Unfortunately, that practice seems dead.  It is the political parties and the professional politicians they support who have fostered the bitter partisanship, the character assassination, and the smear campaigns to keep people out of office.

The result, many good people, and many deserving people who really care about all people get denied the chance to hold public office.  When this happens, people get cheated out of the caring, compassionate, and understanding leaders we deserve and need.

Where are the people's politicians who put the needs of the people first and who never lose sight of the sacred trust between an elected official and all the people they serve?

Let me give you a hypothetical example so you can see what I mean.  Let us take the Second Congressional District of West Virginia.  The Second District is one of the strangest in the nation as it extends from the Washington suburbs in the Northeast part of the state all the way through Charleston almost to Kentucky.

During the most recent election in 2014, the party candidates for Congress included the former chairman of the West Virginia Democrat Party running against the former chairman of the Maryland Republican party.  Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney squared off.

As whacky as it sounds that is what happened.  Professional politicians from both political parties squared off to represent the Mountaineers.  Mooney, who did not even live in West Virginia when he started his campaign, was running for public office in his third different state: New Hampshire, Maryland, and West Virginia.[

Casey, the prohibitive favorite as former state Democrat party chairman, president of the ABA, prominent Catholic, Charleston resident, person with exceptional charitable credentials, and candidate with by far the highest public recognition, got just 60% of the vote in the primary and 43.9% in the general election.

Mooney pulled off a major upset.

As we approach the 2016 election cycle, what do you suppose is happening in the now GOP Second District.  Mooney is preparing for the re-election campaign although there is some speculation that if a Republican became president Mooney would be in line for a major position in the new administration.

On the Democrat side the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, DCCC, is encouraging Nick Casey to run again for the Second District WV Congressional seat.  The fact such action is being reported in the news media suggests the DCCC has decided to push Casey and discourage any other candidates from running, much like is being done with Hillary Clinton at the presidential level.

As for Casey vulnerability, I believe Casey could lose the race by even more votes than the last election.  Several issues could cause serious damage to his efforts. Casey is vulnerable for two reasons, his time as Democratic State party leader in West Virginia, and his statements in the last campaign.

While I have only completed a cursory review of the actual voting breakdown, certain things are quite clear.  First, in 2016, there will be massive GOP spending for president and the message will be targeted at two potential Achilles heels for Casey, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Like it or not Casey is linked to Obama, to DNC leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and to key elements of the Obama program.  As a result, the GOP will portray him as just another party hack doing the bidding of the professional politicians.

His super-delegate and party spokesperson role put him on record supporting what Obama, Pelosi, and Schultz told people to say.  The fact he had to say he was going to vote against Pelosi in the last campaign, if elected, showed his party vulnerability.

His strong support for Obama on Obamacare and energy policy both became campaign issues used against him, and will be larger issues in the next campaign because of the spending in the presidential election.

That same party loyalty over what is good for the people of West Virginia will include his relationship to Hillary who already has her highest negatives recorded and the campaign has barely begun.

Since Casey was on record saying he wanted the Clintons help in his campaign, and he supported her during her State department days, it links him to her and her standing in the polls.

However, from a hypothetical standpoint there may be a far better candidate than either Mooney or Casey.  One who will never get to serve the people of West Virginia because the professional politicians want to keep the seat in the control of professional politicians.
My hypothetical candidate is a real person, Clarence E. Martin, III of Martinsburg.  "CEM" Martin possesses about every quality known to elevate politicians to friends and advocates for all the people.

Since this is a key swing district in a key swing state, it would seem one grounded in serving people like Martin rather than parties, is an ideal candidate.  He is homegrown from West Virginia with three generations of prominent family in public service serving the citizens of West Virginia.

Why CEM Martin should be the Congressman, hypothetically speaking that is.

He is homegrown with a statewide network of friends and long go demonstrated a commitment to family, faith, and loyalty.  CEM Martin was a past president of the State Bar Association.  His grandfather was past president of the American Bar Association.  CEM would garner support from a variety of local networks like lawyers, the Chamber of Commerce, religious groups, non-profits, and the business community.

Throughout his career he demonstrated how to serve people and put their interests first.  With Congressional committee staff experience, international experience through think tanks, and his standing as one of the highest-ranking members of the Papal backed Knights of Malta in the USA, he is free of partisan political association.  When you add his family legacy and a charming wife and daughters, he could make a formidable candidate.

Most important is the legacy issue.  West Virginians seem to like authentic, homegrown candidates and if ever there was a race when it should have been evident, it was last year.

Clarence E. "CEM" Martin, III is a Shareholder at Martin & Seibert, L.C. and is the third generation of his family to be a member of the firm. His Grandfather, Clarence E. Martin, President of the American Bar Association in 1932-1933 founded the firm over 100 years ago, in 1908, in Martinsburg.

CEM's parents

CEM is a former Assistant Counsel to the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (now Energy and Commerce) and Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. He was a Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1976 – 1982 and held various leadership positions.

In May of 2012, Martin was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia to chair a select committee to review and revise the Constitution, Bylaws, Rules, and Regulations of the West Virginia State Bar. Mr. Martin has taken leadership roles in a number of professional and business organizations in West Virginia and beyond. He recently served as Chair for the West Virginia State Chamber of Commerce.

He has also served his communities in the following practices:

President of the West Virginia Bar Association in 1991-92
Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Agricultural Workers from 1988-92
National Board of the American Board of Trial Advocates from 1986-94
Fellow, West Virginia Bar Foundation
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
Board of Directors of the Defense Trial
Board of Directors of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chair 2007-2008
Board of Advisors for Shepherd University serving as its Chair from 1990-92 and 1995-97
Board of Advisors for the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of West Virginia
Board of Directors for Vision Shared
Board of Directors for the West Virginia Education Alliance
Board of Directors for the International Partnership for Human Development
Board of Directors for West Virginia Council for Community and Economic Development
Board of Directors for the Holy Family Hospital Foundation
Board of Directors for the Federal Association of the Order of Malta
Member of the West Virginia Law Institute
Member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
Who's Who in America
Who's Who in American Law
Honorary Doctorate degree by Shepherd University


He was named a Super Lawyer in West Virginia in 2008 through 2011,which recognizes the top five percent of lawyers in the state, and named a Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America in 2007, which recognizes the top two percent of litigators in the U.S.  In 2011, he was named to Best Lawyers in America, which is a peer rated listing recognizing the top lawyers in the U.S.

Also in 2011 he was elected to the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. The Alliance is a nonpartisan group made up of insurance companies, corporations, law firms, and service providers committed to furthering the highest standards of litigation management.  In 2012 he graduated from the Alliance's first certification program in litigation management held at the Columbia Law School and is a Certified Litigation Management Professional.

In 1992 he was appointed to serve on the West Virginia Council for Community and Economic Development, which developed and directed the State's economic development programs and he  elected its Secretary and served until 1995. CEM also chaired the West Virginia Economic Development Foundation and the West Virginia Economic Development Corporation, which are authorized by the Council as private funding corporations for the State's economic development programs.

He now serves on the board of Vision Shared which works with the State's development office on economic development. He served as President of the Discover the REAL West Virginia Foundation from its founding in 1993 through 2004, focusing on economic development and international trade issues with U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV.

He is also Chairman of the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority, which is restoring a historic railroad property. In 2003, Mr. Martin was elected a Fellow in the West Virginia Bar Foundation.

CEM is a member of the Board of Directors for the Holy Family Hospital Foundation which supports the Holy Family Hospital. The Hospital is the only hospital that provides critical, neo-natal care in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Territories. He is also president of the Washington-Baltimore Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

In 2000, Mr. Martin was invested in the Order of Malta as a Knight of Magisterial Grace. In 2003, he was elected to the Federal Association's Board of Directors. In 2004 he was invested as a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Constantinian Order of St. George. In 2007 he was awarded the Cross of Merit by the Order for service to the Order and Church. In 2009 he was advanced in rank in the Order of Malta to the second class in Obedience.

In 2013 when he was named to the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI, an honor that was personally presented by the Pope.  It represents the highest award bestowed on a Catholic layperson.  More recently, he has had several private audiences with Pope Francis.

CEM is qualified to practice law before the following courts.  The U.S. Supreme Court, the West Virginia Supreme Court, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of the Third and Fourth Circuits, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, District of Columbia and Eastern District of Virginia, The Court of Appeals for Maryland, and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.


Can you imagine that hypothetical candidates like CEM Martin will never get a chance to represent the people of West Virginia when they are exactly what the people of West Virginia need and deserve.

[Note - In the interest of transparency I was a classmate with CEM at the University of Arizona and he has consistently told me he is not a candidate for Congress in West Virginia, though he should be.]

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