Veteran legislators ‘retire’

Isn’t it interesting the way so-called veteran legislators always decide to “retire” in the middle of their terms, rather than simply choosing not to run for reelection. Could it be that they do this to give their political party the advantage of appointing their successor who can then run for “reelection” in the next election as the incumbent?

Veteran state legislator Rep. Jeff Barnhart just announced his “retirement” effective Sept. 30. Barnhart is the second longtime lawmaker to announce his impending retirement. Rep. Jonathan Rhyne, a Lincoln County Republican, said he would leave office effective Aug. 15. The county Republican Party Executive Committee has selected Jason Saine, a public relations manager, to replace him

Early in this legislative session, Sen. Marc Basnight announced his retirement for “heath reasons,” after having served 18 years as the powerful Senate president pro tem and within months of being reelected to a new term, where he would have bee relegated to being minority leader. Another legislator who has served for nearly two decades, Sen. Debbie Clary, announced her retirement effective in November, after which she will go to work as a lobbyist.

Under state law, the party of the outgoing legislator gets to select their replacement. The governor officially makes the appointment, but she must choose from a list of recommended candidates submitted by the political party committee that last held the vacant seat. The voters in that district have no say.

Here is a classic example of a political apparatus and election laws that are rigged to give an unfair advantage to the establishment, status quo Democratic-Republican duopoly and rigged to perpetuate their grip on power.