(CNSNews.com) – West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he is not endorsing President Barack Obama for re-election, saying the president “has apparently made it his mission to drive the backbone of West Virginia’s economy, coal and the energy industry, out of business.”
Tomblin is running for re-election in the heavily Democratic and major coal-producing state this year. He won a special election for the governorship last year after Gov. Joe Manchin was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.
“As a loyal member of the Democratic party and as governor for our state, I will continue to do everything I can, including suing the EPA, to get the president to change the misguided policies that are hurting West Virginians,” Tomblin added in his statement.
Tomblin said he is not supporting presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney either, but it is generally presumed that most elected officials would support the nominee of their party. Manchin has also declined to back a candidate at this point.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in party registration in West Virginia by 2-1, according to the Associated Press. However, the state has voted Republican in the last three presidential elections. Of potential significance is West Virginia’s proximity, bordering three key battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The governor’s campaign issued a statement Wednesday that asserted neither Obama nor Romney has earned his support.
“I do not believe that either candidate has a real understanding of what is important to West Virginia,” Tomblin said in the statement. “As governor, I go to work every day to stand up for West Virginians and create jobs. As governor, I know that I must work hard every day to earn the trust and the votes of my constituents. Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney has earned my vote at this point.”
He first criticized Romney.
“On the one hand, Mitt Romney is supporting policies that will end Medicare and Social Security as we know it,” Tomblin said. “His policies will put more burdens on West Virginia families who are simply trying to make ends meet.”
He then went on to address the president of his own party.
“On the other hand, President Obama has apparently made it his mission to drive the backbone of West Virginia’s economy, coal and the energy industry, out of business,” Tomblin said. “That will not only hurt thousands of West Virginia families, it will destroy the economic fabric of our state.”