By Jake Flatley
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There is no primary opponent for John Perdue in his campaign for a seventh term in the state Capitol as West Virginia Treasurer but he is ready to face a new Republican challenger in November.
Perdue, a Democrat from Boone County, is all but set for a matchup against Harpers Ferry native Riley Moore, the eldest grandchild of former Gov. Arch Moore and the nephew of U.S. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito.
Moore, like Perdue, is running unopposed on the June 9 primary ticket. Perdue assumed the office in 1997 and prior to his election in 1996, he served as an aide to Governor Gaston Caperton.
As part of his campaign, Moore said he is running on term limits and accountability. He said the treasurer’s office should not be a lifetime position.
“Treasurer Perdue running for seven terms is outside of what the founders had in mind here in terms of these constitutional offices. I think it should mirror the governor’s office and you shouldn’t be able to run for more than two terms,” Moore told MetroNews.
“This isn’t a lifetime appointment. We need term limits.”
Perdue told MetroNews he is proud of the 23 years in office and hopes that his experience, record and momentum of programs will help him get reelected. After college at WVU, Perdue went to work for the state Department of Agriculture and said public service is all he has ever known.
“I enjoy my job, I enjoy being a public servant. I really love working for the people of this state and that’s what keeps me going. I love the different programs we have brought forward to the people,” Perdue said.
Perdue said the treasurer’s office has reunited current and former state residents with lost assets of over $215 million through the Unclaimed Property program and helped thousands of West Virginia families save $2.7 billion for college.
He believes the work being done in the office will earn voters’ trust.
“I think people recognize that,” Perdue said of his office. “What we have done with unclaimed property, the college savings programs, what we have done in the board of treasury and investments and triple money market ratings. We brought this office from a place where people didn’t even think about the treasurer’s office.
“Now when you go out, people know what the treasurer’s office does.”
Moore, who was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates representing District 67 from 2016 to 2018, said the treasurer’s office needs to be more modernized with its programs. He told MetroNews that he will not forget about the majority of the young population in the state that does not go to a four-year college after high school.
Moore said if he is elected he will initiate the “Jump Start West Virginia” savings plan, to help those in technical and vocational schools save money to purchase tools, equipment, training, licenses, and certifications as they come out of trade school. He began his career working as a welder in a rock quarry maintaining mining equipment.
When speaking with MetroNews, Moore was also critical of Perdue’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis. Treasurer Perdue, I believe is failing that test. I believe after 24 years it is time for a change,” he said.
“What I am running to bring to the treasurer’s office is transparency, accountability, and modernization.”
Perdue believes his office is both transparent and modernized.
“We have brought transparency into this office. Getting the checks and balances put into place that need to be put into place that has made this treasurer’s office one of the best in the country. I am very proud of the professional staff we have put together in this office,” he said.
“The checks and balances we have put in of CPAs and accountants to be able to take care of the taxpayer’s money. A $16 billion bank in state government that we have grown this to.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, campaigns have moved nearly entirely online and through the phone. Moore said his campaign has worked hard making a name for himself around the state running against the incumbent through social platforms.
“We’ve been doing a lot of Zoom conference calls, we’ve been doing phone calls, reaching out through the social media platforms. I’d say this campaign is not only surviving during this pandemic but we are thriving,” Moore said.
“We are continuing to build support around the state despite some of the restrictions and difficulties that have been put into place with campaigning.”