MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A pharmacist from Morgan County is making his first political run in this year’s race for the Republican nomination for Congress in West Virginia’s 2nd District.

Photo courtesy Ken Reed for Congress

Ken Reed is splitting his time between the pharmacy, his family and the campaign trail these days.

“We’re doing this because I am an extreme fiscal conservative,” said Ken Reed on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

A native of Brooke County, Reed graduated from the West Virginia School of Pharmacy in 1992.  He and his wife, Tally, opened the first Reed’s Pharmacy in Berkeley Springs in 1998.

“From there, I invested in that community and I look at this (campaign) the same way.  I’m investing in this 2nd Congressional District,” said Reed, a father of four who has put $200,000 of his own money into his Congressional campaign.

“I look at it as the seed money to get going and my goal is eventually for them (the people of the 2nd District) to invest in me.  I would like to connect the counties.  I would like to get away from this idea that it’s east versus west.  It’s one district.”

If elected, he said he’ll apply the same business sense he uses to run his pharmacy in Washington, D.C.

“Being a small businessman, I know how to balance a budget,” he said.  “When you agree to pay for something, it’s on the books at that particular time.  I know how important that is because I know there’s no bailout coming for me.”

In addition to Reed, the other Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District are Robert Lawrence Fluharty, an investigator from Charles Town; Alex Mooney, a former Maryland state senator; Steve Harrison, a former Kanawha County state senator; Charlotte Lane, a former PSC chair and former commissioner of the U.S. International Trade Commission; Jim Moss, a cost management specialist with Toyota Motors Manufacturing and Ron Walters, Jr., a financial consultant in Charleston.

The Democrats running in the 2nd Congressional District are Nick Casey, a former state Democratic Party chair, and Meshea Poore, a Kanawha County delegate.

Early voting ahead of the May 13 Primary Election in West Virginia begins Wednesday.

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  • William101

    Ken lost. He isn't comfortable in settings where he doesn't know the people. For instance, when he appeared in Moorefield, he said he was pleased to appear in Hampshire County.....

  • EP Resident

    Ken Reed is the real deal. He is the son of a Weirton Steel worker - a blue collar kid that was able to pull together the resources to go to pharmacy school. After working in the industry for six years, he then pulled together enough money (family loans, personal loans, and savings) to buy a broken down house. He fixed the house up himself. Tore out walls, fixed the windows. He and is wife built that business into what it has become today. He is an amazing example of what the American Dream use to be. As he became more successful, he brought people up the ladder with him. With each new store, he brought in partners so that others could share in his success. I understand why folks are skeptical. Ken is the real deal. A return to the citizen statesman. I emailed the campaign, and he actually called me back personally. Took a day or two, but when is the last time you heard of a Congressman doing that. This is a chance to change things in WV for the better. He's invested in us. It's time for us to invest in him.

  • Jada Caniford


  • Marti

    Check out Alex Mooney. Everyday kind of guy, with a rational head. I like what he has to say. And I would consider myself a Democrat. But I like this guy.

    • Drew

      It is interesting that you say that, Marti. Alex does seem to be a nice guy, but he is the "extremist" in this race. And he is also from Maryland.

      • Marti

        I heard him speak on the fact that he is from Maryland. He and his family wanted to live in a place with people with similar values and beliefs. Maryland was far too liberal. And they are apparently all much happier here. He may seem extremist, but to me he does not seem the typical party-line republican. I think he THINKS for himself.

        • Angie Hott

          I know Ken Reed "thinks" not just for himself but for the people of West Virginia. I'm from Morgan County and see how he cares about his community. A native West Virginian with lifelong roots here will represent us better than someone who just moved across the river.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          ...or he was unable, as a "small businessman", to compete with his Maryland counterparts. I find it difficult to accept the claim that the state that gave us Spiro Agnew has, in a generation, transformed itself into a bastion of Liberalism.

          I hope that his disdain for those "too liberal" or not passing the conservative litmus test does not keep this prospective candidate from representing all of The People should he successfully negotiate the election process. Someone needs to represent we middle-of-the-roaders, not simply either extreme.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    He has $200 grand of his own money to put into a campaign? Pharma must pay pretty well. That explains his self-proclaimed extreme "fiscally conservative" slant as well.

    There is no one more "fiscally conservative" than Joe Middleclass Voter who tries to house, feed, and clothe his family.

    No need to elaborate on your other stances, Mr. Reed. Most of us who consider ourselves informed already know your take on the issues facing this state.

    My concern is we have yet another monied entrepreneur/politician who becomes a poster boy for Big Business, in this instance perhaps Big Pharma, and distances himself from the people of this state. Mason County's representatives in the Legislature have also pursued interests that enhance their own businesses' bottom lines--I doubt Morgan County representatives are any different.

    Vote wisely, my friends. Welcome to West Virginia politics. Tea anyone?

    • David

      Mr. Mason, if you think Ken Reed will turn and work for someone other than the residents of the 2nd district and WV check his endorsements. Only two are available, those are mr. Cowles he is in the WV legislature and Mr. Mark Hatfield. No super sized chain store, no huge entities like other candidates. I know Ken Reed will do everything to save WV and the 2nd district. Support and bring jobs to this state, as well as stop Obama's war on coal and the moral values that founded this country. He can only do so with your support, my support, our support.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        No politician can (or should) in this Republic legislate "moral values", nor can they "create" jobs with Zvengali control of market forces, nor can they blame our president for the free market at work in their disingenuous proclamation of a "war on coal". The Founding Fathers were no collection of virtuous men--they were human beings just like us, subject to the same foibles and faults. I for one do not want any politician dictating what should constitute proper morality, and they shouldn't present themselves as the hinge point of the morals brigade. I much prefer to take those cues from my Savior and I do daily and in worship each Sunday--not by grand proclamations during election season but in the way I live and certainly not to curry votes during the primary season. Our state doesn't need politicians to tell us how "moral" they are--"morality" and politics do not mix. My God is bigger than any politician or political agenda. That is why I question the motivations of the latest morals darling entering the political arena with "their own" money.

        What we do need is leadership and soon. No single party has cornered the market on patriotism or morality, nor does it provide a single job for Joe and Jane Middleclass Voter. No politician or party should claim to hold the moral high ground. It is great to stand beside the Flag, it is the scoundrel who stands behind it. We do not send politicians to Washington to tell us how we need their morality--we send them to solve problems.

        Respectfully, Mason County Contrarian

        • Alum

          Go ahead MCC, beat you chest some more and tell us how holy you are while disparaging another man. And when you take a break, go read some Revolutionary War history. You may discover how many of the founders were absolutely broke by the end of the war. It seems they valued the opportunity to form a Republic at great personal cost.

        • Shadow

          I find your statement hard to believe when you accuse Ken Reed of being devious when he decided to spend his money for his campaign. You set yourself up as a judge of his intentions without even knowing the man. As I remember, it is: Judge not, lest ye be judged. By your remarks, many of us have judged you.

        • The bookman


          I'm with you in that opinion. But Mr Reed doesn't describe himself in those terms. I picked up a brochure this morning and searched it for even a glimmer of social issue advocacy and came up empty. His concerns are debt and deficit. Try to take a serious look at him and not simply dismiss him as a conservative zealot. I haven't decided yet, but so far, I like him a lot.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            Thank you, Mr. Bookman.

    • Jesse's girl

      I am continually reminded how extremely fortunate I was to grow up with parents who never criticized people for having more than we did, nor envied them for what they had.

      Mr. Mason County gives us insight into his envy of others. He apparently did not have parents who encouraged him to be better than he thought he could, but just carp against them.

      I will take the entrepreneur/politician any day over the gaggle of lawyers who infest the WV Legislature.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        I respectfully disagree. I was only expressing my opinion. It was not my intention to touch a nerve, only to impart a credible view. To elaborate, it's just that when someone involved in the healthcare industry (and from my personal experience I can tell you it is an industry) or any other "small" business purports to know what is best for the people of our state, you must excuse my skepticism. "Small" is relative.

        I refuse to turn my back upon the generations of our people who have been sold and continue to be sold a bill of goods by so-called "small business job creators". Our history should teach us that we are ripe for the plucking by a myriad of special interests, especially in a small state like ours. Spending almost a quarter-million of your own dollars to attempt to get into Congress doesn't sound like fiscal "conservatism" to me. It seems more than mere coincidence that someone with an interest in a "small" pharmaceutical business would find it necessary to run for Congress at a time when healthcare reform is the law of the land and special interests are doing their level best to undo it.

        If your financial adviser drives a nicer car than you do, perhaps it is time to find another adviser for it becomes clear that you are working for his benefit, not him for yours. I take my aspiring, patronizing politicos in the same fashion. I seriously doubt a truly "small" businessman who can fork over $200,000 to bankroll a campaign knows the needs of those he or she hopes to represent, including me. Spending your own savings doesn't sound like a prudent thing to do, especially from someone that touts being an "extreme fiscal conservative". Joe or Jane Middleclass Voter won't know the luxury of having that kind of money to throw at anything in a lifetime.

        Just another indication of the state of political discourse among our citizens. If one doesn't agree with someone, then cast dispersions upon their character. If anyone has a different opinion than mine I respect them nonetheless--that is what my parents taught me.

        I disagree but I respect your right to disagree with me as well.

        • Jada Caniford

          I disagree too. We need people like ken to help straighten out this country. U do not have to be rich and powerful to do what he plans to do to help W.Va. and a seasoned politician is what has ruined this country in the past.

        • Hop'sHip

          You're a contrarian! Expect dissent from your opinions. In fact, given the mindset of the crowd that hangs here, revel in it!

        • ViennaGuy

          - I seriously doubt a truly "small" businessman who can fork over $200,000 to bankroll a campaign knows the needs of those he or she hopes to represent, including me. -

          Question for MCC:

          You seem to be equating a candidate's money to how well he can represent "the little guy."

          When Jay Rockefeller was up for re-election in 2008, he spent nearly $6 million on his campaign - $13.34 for every vote he received, to be exact - and outspent his opponent 48-1 to win.

          Given how you feel about this small businessman putting $200,000 into his nascent campaign, do you feel the same way about Rockefeller, who is much wealthier than this small businessman and who has a documented history of pouring literally millions of dollars into his political campaigns?

          Seeing the amount of money that Rockefeller has spent over the years to win elective office, can you truly say that he "knows the needs of those he hopes to represent," to use your own words?

          • Alum

            VG, MCC won't ask himself and consider the source of the $200,000? Perhaps Mr. Reed pulled it from savings. Perhaps it is a loan from his business. Perhaps it is a loan against his business.

            Two-cell Jay has done exactly what you described for decades but that magical (D) after his name (unfortunately) put him above reproach in this state.

        • Alum

          I believe your intent was to disparage a man who worked and studied hard, got into Pharmacy school and somewhere around six years out of school decided to start his own business. That means he took a significant risk to start the business. I frequently talk to one of the pharmacists at one of Mr. Reed's stores, and frankly, you have no idea what is involved in this business. Work hard, save your money, attempt to serve the public and then take arrows from those such as you; it's no wonder that bright, qualified people do not want to run for public office.

          Go ahead, hide behind your diatribe and try to justify it as you may. However, some of us see through your comments and frankly, I seriously doubt you know what you are talking about. You strike me as anti-business through-and-through. And the little red hen is waiting on you so she can eat her bread in front of you, while you watch.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            Not anti-business at all nor have I ever had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman--I just refuse to accept the Ozzie and Harriet mirage that a businessperson by virtue of successfully running a business has the ability to participate in government at the national level, especially when candidates or their supporters use the word "moral" or "morality" or the candidate jeopardizes his own individual family finances to run for office, Democrat or Republican. In my view the stakes are far too high for the middle class, who can't pay for their Kroger groceries with "morality" or by having voted for a Democrat or Republican candidate.

            Such naivete on the part of candidates for both major parties has gotten the people of our state and nation a government which is either unable or unwilling to function through discussion and compromise. The gulf that separates the politicians from the voter continues to grow wider.

            Study the candidates carefully.

            Stay thirsty, my friends.

        • The bookman


          Believe it or not I have a lot of respect for you. This MB is a tough place sometimes, but you remain steadfast in your opinions, and that is to be commended.

          Have you considered that Mr Reed is investing his own money, a considerable sum, on behalf of his country in the hopes of making a difference. He hasn't run for a political office previously, worked for six years as a pharmacist and then struck off on his own and built a business. His success has ALLOWED him to set aside the time for public service. I wish I were so endowed with his success.

          Consider the possibilities that those who wish to serve are not in it for themselves. Consider that there are still people who are pure of heart, that think of others first, and choose to make a difference for the good of the state and the country. I haven't decided on a candidate as of yet, but Mr Reed is the first one in this race to raise my brow. I will seek him out, and find out a little more about him. I hope you will consider it as well.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            Thank you for the exchange, Mr. Bookman. You do give pause for thought. Much obliged.

          • The bookman

            It is the absence of hypocrisy that is to be commended, and the insertion of his opinion into the debate that is articulate and thoughtful. Rarely do we agree, but I am encouraged to read his post whenever I see it.

          • Aaron

            "you remain steadfast in your opinions, and that is to be commended."

            There is a difference in remaining steadfast in one's opinion and in toeing the party line.

            I don't recall mention of the type of morality legislation MCC alludes to in his tirade below. From his latest comment, it appears he labels Mr. Reed as a TEA Party member, hence he must be bad.

            I see independent thinking thus, I'm not so sure the concrete stance is a virtue.

            But that's just me.

        • Shadow

          There are several of my friends that gave more the 200k for for this Country. They gave their life. Please do not discredit all that came home in a body bag or disabled.

      • Alum


        And I fill many of my prescriptions at one of his locations over the chain stores. His staff is great and I can always get my questions answered.

        And now the real question, Mason county, are you jealous, an idiot, or a little of both?

        • The bookman

          Mr Mason County isn't an idiot. Mr Mason County fears the boogeyman. He knows what to expect from the guys who have run this state for the last century, just not from the guys who are getting ready to take control. In this case comfort is better than the prospect for improvement.

      • The bookman


    • epeer

      Mr. Mason County,

      You have the wrong impression of Mr. Reed. He is a SMALL businessman who has always treated his customers with kindness and respect. Therefore, they return to his business (and maybe have to pay a little more) rather than turn to the "big pharma" stores like CVS and Wal-Mart. I do not begrudge his wealth- he has earned it through hard work.
      We should be glad that he is willing to spend his own money to finance his own campaign, instead of begging and perhaps becoming beholden to big business.
      Just my 2 cents worth!!

    • WV Common Tater

      I met Ken Reed several months ago at a charity dinner and found him impressive. He spoke of being concerned at the direction that this Country was going and is wanting to aid in it's recovery. The fact that he has been successful in his business should not be held against him. It is time to have some successful folks in politics that have made their way up in some other occupation other than f the government and the law. I consider him the type of Representative that WV and the USA needs.