Newt Gingrich stumps for Bill Cole at Martinsburg event

MARTINSBURG – Newt Gingrich joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Cole on Thursday night for a fundraising event at the Purple Iris, and both talked about how a Trump presidency and Cole being elected as governor would contribute to a better West Virginia.

Gingrich was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 and represented Georgia’s 6th congressional district as a Republican from 1979 until his resignation in 1999. He was a candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2012 as well.

Cole served as the West Virginia state senate president since 2015, and has been in the senate since 2012.

According to both Gingrich and Cole, a Donald Trump presidency would beneficial for not only the nation, but also specifically for West Virginia.

“Trump’s No. 1 passion is going to be jobs. He gets it, he’s a businessman. He’s been a job creator his whole life,” Gingrich said Thursday. “(West Virginia) is very mountainous, and you need infrastructure because that’s the only thing that binds you together. So, I think in the end, building and infrastructure creates jobs, it creates momentum, so I think Trump would be very good for the West Virginia economy. Plus, Trump is dramatically more pro-coal (than Hillary Clinton).”

Cole said he agreed with Gingrich that Trump will be a good fit, especially for the Mountain State.

“Everything (Gingrich) said I agree with as far as Donald Trump and being a proven businessman, but for me, it’s as simple as who supports our fossil fuel industries and who (has been) absolutely on the record saying that she’s going to destroy them. So, I don’t think for West Virginians it’s a difficult choice at all,” Cole said. “I think if we’re to have a bright, positive future, if we’re going to be the state of great opportunity and great wealth that we can be, we all better pray for a Donald Trump White House.”

Moreover, Gingrich said electing Bill Cole as West Virginia governor would also be a step in the right direction.

“The state is capable of electing Republican governors, and what it really does is it opens people’s minds up to think differently. Now, they look at the governor’s race, and they already know that they’re against Hillary, they’re against Obama,” Gingrich said. “The fact that you have a business leader, a state senate leader who has two years of actually passing real reforms, I think change is the equation, and it’s the blending together of the Trump momentum and the Bill Cole record that gives him a really, really good shot at winning.”

Devona and Melvin Snyder, of Ranson, who attended the general reception, said they were excited to attend the event.

“We’ve never gone to a political rally before, and the young man who called us from the headquarters was very nice and invited us, so we took the opportunity and accepted the invitation,” Devona said. “It’s definitely different.”

Devona said she isn’t sold on either gubernatorial candidate yet. Cole is facing Democratic candidate Jim Justice in the general election, which is Nov. 8.

“I have no idea (who I’m voting for). I’m at a point where I haven’t made up my mind on any (of the candidates), a few local, but not state and federal,” Devona said. “I’m still weighing my pros and cons.”

Gingrich and Cole said they have known each other for some time, but Gingrich said former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the one who fully convinced him about Cole as a gubernatorial candidate.

“We have a mutual friend in Rick Perry, who was a great, innovative governor, who called me one day and just said, ‘Bill Cole is the real deal, and what he’s doing is really important,'” Gingrich said. “Rick doesn’t call me very often, and so I thought it was a sign of how impressive Bill is.”

Thursday night’s event included both private and general receptions for those in attendance, and Gingrich and Cole addressed the audience.