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TBAF’s WV Transparency Group Celebrates and Praises Manchin’s Reforms

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

The great week for members of West Virginians for Transparency, the local affiliate of Take Back Action Fund (TBAF), culminated as they celebrated with TBAF staff in Morgantown. The celebration was in doubt until the end when the Mountaineers twice stopped the No. 15 ranked Virginia Tech inside the 10-yard line in the final 6 minutes for a thrilling 27-21 win.

Before the game many West Virginia Transparency told West Virginia-based TBAF Eastern Field Director Johnny Babilon and passers by who saw this digital ad at the game that they strongly supported raising US Senator Joe Manchin’s push for two election reform measures.

  1. Defending American elections by insisting Voter ID be a major part of any election reform, and

  2. stop “secret shady pay-for-play deals” (a term used by Fox News’ Steve Hilton when he interviewed TBAF President John Pudner on Fox News’ Next Revolution).

Many TBAF members said they do want Manchin to achieve his goal of making sure people have the freedom to vote, as long as Voter ID ensures the person on the voter roll is the one really voting.

TBAF divides the state into the same three regions that feature one of Manchin’s regional offices – Charleston, Fairmont and the Eastern Panhandle, and in each region dozens of TBAF members called the local offices to express support for Manchin’s insistence on both Voter ID and stopping secret contributions to politicians.

“People’s views were very similar to the results we saw when we surveyed three hundred of our state members,” said Babilon. “Only 4 percent opposed these two reforms and 16 percent were undecided in our earlier survey. The 80 percent supporting Senator Manchin’s reforms were split evenly on which of the two was most important to pass, with stopping secret money viewed as slightly more pressing than even Voter ID due to concern that China and the Middle East are funneling money into campaigns to influence US policy.”

“When we travelled from around the state to Morgantown Saturday, we found the same views everywhere from the Elks Lodge (pictured) to fans who talked to us after recognizing us from our digital ad we were running Saturday morning.”

TBAF National Field Director Lars Wieichmann, who lives across the Virginia border, and TBAF President John Pudner both came as well to witness the excitement first hand, and they were so impressed that they decided to add a text campaign to encourage even more veterans and conservatives to go to Senator Manchin’s website and leave a message of support, something they already have seen happening through the website. The group has identified roughly 50,000 veterans and conservatives who are politically active and will be contacted by text.

“A couple of our longer meetings in West Virginia were with civic leaders who personally knew Senator Manchin and were very excited about these reforms,” said Pudner, who years ago ran the West Virginia faith-based campaign for President George W. Bush’s election. “Right now Senator Manchin is the deciding vote on so many policies in Washington, and there is no one we would trust more in the country than his constituents in West Virginia to share their thoughts with his office as he weighs crucial decisions about spending, judges and in this case who we run our elections so that they are secure and the results can be trusted.”

For more on TBORA's efforts on election integrity, please click here.


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