I am not enthralled with either candidate for governor, but I don't think it's asking too much for the campaigns to tell the truth in their advertising. Bill Maloney, the GOP candidate, is running a TV ad in which an anguished woman claims West Virginia has "fewer people working," followed immediately by an equally distraught woman saying "more than any other state."
This clever editing is clearly meant to impart the "fact" that West Virginia is suffering the highest unemployment rate in the country. This would be a compelling argument in favor of candidate Maloney, that is, if it were true. Happily for the good people of West Virginia (but perhaps sadly for Maloney and his advisers), our beloved state actually ranks 24th of 51 (counting the District of Columbia) in our rate of unemployment (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Certainly, a 7.4 percent unemployment rate is nothing to celebrate, but it's a relief to know that West Virginia ranks lower than other states. For instance, Arizona (governed by that tea party darling Jan Brewer) ranks above West Virginia, with an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent. New Jersey (with GOP rising star Chris Christie at its helm) ranks 48th, at 9.89 percent. Louisiana, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, and Nevada (last on the list, with a whopping 12 percent unemployment rate) all rank above West Virginia.
And what do all those states have in common? A Republican governor.
These are facts. If Bill Maloney wants to earn the trust of the people of West Virginia, he should stick to the facts.