WHEELING, W.Va. — Ohio County state Delegate Ryan Ferns said his vote Tuesday against fellow Democrat and new House Speaker Tim Miley was a protest vote.
Ferns believed that certain outside special-interest groups were going too far to sway votes.
“What I believed were excessive bullying tactics,” he said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Ferns was the only Democrat, outside of Miley himself, to vote against Miley.
Ferns said he has no problem with special interest groups endorsing certain candidates, but don’t bully and in some cases threaten delegates.
“I wasn’t going to stand by and be a part of that type of action for a speakers election,” said Ferns.
House Delegates elected Miley, D-Harrison, Tuesday on a 53-44 near partisan vote to replace former speaker Rick Thompson, who resigned to take a position in the Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration.
Ferns said he told Miley before the vote what he was planning to do and that the move cast no reflection on Miley as a person.
“I have the utmost respect for Tim and the years that I’ve worked with him, I find him to be a very reasonable, approachable person,” said Ferns. “I think he’ll do a fine job as speaker.”
Ferns said previous speakers’ races were often handled internally by the members of the House, without extra influence from external groups. He said that’s the way it should be.
When asked on “Talkline” to identify the special-interest groups he was chastising, Ferns declined.