Ken Reed tells the story of when he opened his first pharmacy. It was really slow for about a year before customers finally started coming in regularly. One woman told Reed she was waiting to see if his business was going to make it before she became a customer.
Reed’s tale of perseverance may help explain why he’s taking a second crack at running for Congress. The Berkeley Springs pharmacist and pharmacy owner has filed paperwork to run for the Republican nomination for Congress in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, a seat now held by Republican Alex Mooney.
Reed was one of seven Republicans scrambling for the nomination in 2014 after Shelley Moore Capito announced she was running for the U.S. Senate. “I jumped into that race eight months before the Primary, not having had anything to do with politics and almost won the darn thing,” Reed told me. “I think I did spectacularly.”
Well, Reed actually finished a fair distance behind Mooney (12,678 to 7,848, 36 percent to 22 percent), but he came in second, ahead of political veterans Charlotte Lane and Steve Harrison. Not bad for his first foray into politics.
Reed says his interest in a second run was ignited two months ago when, while discussing political options, someone told him that all the positions were taken. “These (offices) belong to the voters, not to any particular person,” Reed said. “It’s good to have competition.”
So Reed filed and has started to gauge interest in challenging Mooney in next year’s Primary. “I’ve already started to fundraise,” Reed said. “That will tell the tale. If we hit certain marks (he would not say what they are) we’re good to go.”
Reed ran the last time as a family values fiscal conservative who opposed Obamacare, but that was the platform of nearly all of the Republicans in the crowded field, each trying to outflank the other farther to the right. The 47-year-old father of four hasn’t changed his views. In fact, he is even more adamant in his opposition to Obamacare, citing the national health care law as the reason he’s selling several of his pharmacies.”
Reed is more comfortable with politics now than his first attempt, which he says was a 180-degree turn from his career in health care. “I’m really pushing to get in and hoping these things come together,” he told me.
The challenge will actually be more difficult for Reed and any other candidates in the 2016 2nd District race because there is an incumbent. Mooney will have had two years to solidify his support and fundraise.
There’s another story Reed tells, about the decision to build his house on the back of a plot of land instead of near the road, meaning he had to construct and maintain a mile-long road to his home.
Here’s a guy who doesn’t mind taking the hard way.