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Vote WV Can’t Wait

Our movement won in the June 9 primary

Stephen Smith’s Remarks, June 9

Last year, David Dayen of the American Prospect said about our WV Can’t Wait movement: “It’s kind of a throwback to the political machines of yesteryear… Only this time, the machine is allied with the people, over the powerful.”

Tonight that movement won. 

35 WV Can’t Candidates claimed seats and primary positions up and down the ballot. Tonight our people won in Wheeling, in Monongalia County, in Pendleton County. Our people won city council races, delegate races, state senate races, and all four congressional races--an auditor’s race too. 

Compared to any slate before us, we are the truest representation of the people of West Virginia: working and middle class, brown and black and white, gay and straight and queer, young and middle aged and old.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those candidates who has advanced. 

To our supporters, if you are at all like me in this moment, you are feeling every possible emotion, perhaps all at once. Some of us are feeling joy and pride for the campaigns that won and sadness for those that didn’t. Others of us are feeling anger or regret, wishing we had done something more or different. Some of us may feel relief, because now we’ll have a little more time to tend to the other people and needs in our life. Some of us may feel hopeless or bitter, wondering if things can ever really change. Some of us are already spoiling for the next fight, ready to risk even more; others may never want to fight again. We welcome all that.

Those sharp feelings are proof of our great capacity for hope and for imagination. They tell us that we are alive. That we love. That we have fought and reached for something beyond ourselves. In short, that we have done our work. 

We have always known that one Governor wasn’t the answer to our problems, and that the change we seek can’t be achieved in one election cycle. Our goal was always to get nearer to the promised land, to wield more power than we had before. Let there be no doubt that when we wake up tomorrow morning, we will find ourselves more powerful than we were 2 years ago, more powerful than we were a month ago. Here is what we have already won, what no one can’t take away from us:

  • 55 county volunteer teams 
  • 39 constituency teams 
  • A union staff that has set the bar created a template for future campaigns
  • The boldest, most detailed policy platform in WV history written by the people
  • Too many new skills to count, to many new leaders to count too many new relationships that can't be broken. 

And the WV Can’t Wait movement has dozens of candidates who are advancing tonight. It gives me peace of mind to know that those candidates will need us now to carry them over the finish line. Ahead of us is more good work to do, battles harder than any we have experienced thus far.

Since its founding, the government of West Virginia has belonged to a wealthy Good Old Boys Club—bent on rigging the economy to serve themselves. For generations they have stolen our tax dollars, cut our pay, gutted our healthcare and left our roads and schools in disrepair.

How? By dividing us up. Because they know, when we stand together, there are more of us than there are of them. They try to divide us Christian against Muslim, White against Black, kayaker against coal miner. They even find their way into our homes and try to divide our families, turning us against our own kin when they get sick on drugs, telling us to hate our own blood because they don’t check the same box on Election Day. But we know better. When we fight each other, we lose. When we fight for each other, we win.

If you want to find your role in this movement, we’re just getting started. Call me. My cell phone is 304.610.6512. My email is

We need your experience, your energy, your ideas. Because nobody knows this state like you do. Nobody knows its burdens and how to ease them better than you. 

My name is Stephen Smith, and I am conceding this election to Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango, the Democratic nominee for Governor. Ben, congratulations.

Never in American history has one politician, or one election, brought the kind of change our state desperately needs. It’s going to take all of us. West Virginia can’t wait. 

They don’t call it the struggle because it’s easy. You don’t get to choose .. people who come before us. 

Vote for WV Can’t Wait candidates in the general election

Especially in the pandemic, every West Virginia voter should vote safely.
 All of us should protect ourselves, our families, poll workers, and the general public. Here’s how:



Step 1

Find your polling place HERE. This is important, as some polling places will be closed.

Step 2

Go to your polling place on November 3. Polls are open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM on Election Day.

If you’ve requested an absentee ballot but decide to vote in person instead, bring your absentee ballot with you and turn it in at your polling place.

If your polling place has closed, there should be a sign directing you where to  vote.

  • Bring a photo ID, just to be sure.
  • Wear a mask to protect poll workers and other voters.
  • Use hand sanitizer. (The Secretary of State has said hand sanitizer will be available at all polling places, but if you have your own, you may want to bring it just in case they run out!)
  • Observe physical distancing guidelines.

Step 3

Vote like your future depends on it—because it does!

You can find a list of not-for-sale candidates to vote for HERE by entering your zip code.



Step 1

Receive your absentee ballot in the mail.

Step 2

Fill out your absentee ballot. Click on this link to find every candidate in your district who has pledged not to take corporate cash, to never cross a picket line, and to never hide from a debate. 

Step 3

Return your ballot to your County Clerk by mail. (Here is the directory of addresses for WV County Clerks.) Your ballot must be post marked by Election Day, November 3rd.

You can find a list of not-for-sale candidates to vote for HERE by entering your zip code.

If you’ve requested an absentee ballot but decide to vote in person, bring your absentee ballot with you and turn it in at your polling place.

Questions? View the FAQs from the Secretary of State’s office HERE or call them at 304.558.6000. They’re very responsive.



We created a movement together, a movement to build a people’s government by and for working people—not millionaires. When we fight each other we lose. When we fight FOR each other, we win.



We have hundreds of volunteers in every corner of the state, and a whole slate of Not-For-Sale candidates running together. It will take 1,000 leaders not 1 to win a West Virginia that works for all of us.