CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Voters in West Virginia will decide next month whether to give state Treasurer John Perdue an unprecedented seventh term in office or elect a fresh face with a familiar name.
Perdue, a Democrat from Boone County, is on the ballot in the November 3 General Election against Harpers Ferry native Riley Moore, the eldest grandchild of former Gov. Arch Moore and the nephew of U.S. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito.
Perdue assumed the office of managing the state bank, a bank of more than $16 billion of assets, in 1997. Prior to his election in 1996, he served as an aide to Governor Gaston Caperton and assistant commissioner of Agriculture under Gus Douglass.
Moore, who was born in Morgantown and served in the House of Delegates from 2016 to 2018 and , said he is running on three pillars of accountability, transparency and modernization. He told MetroNews all three have to deal with term limits which is what he wants to bring to the office by defeating Perdue.
“A lot of people do not focus on this office or think about it but it actually is an important office in the state. We’ve had the same individual in the office for 24 years which tells you why you need term limits,” Moore said.
“My plan is to start term limits in this general election by term limiting John Perdue.”
Perdue told MetroNews he is proud of the 24 years in office. He hopes that his experience, record and momentum of programs will help him get reelected.
“We have built up a treasurer’s office that people can be proud of, a bank of state government that people can be proud of. That is what I am running on to help protect the banking of the state of West Virginia,” he said.
“We brought integrity and honesty into this office. We have modernized it and put the technology into the office to make it what it is today.”
Programs that Perdue has touted consist of the SMART 529 College Education Savings Plan, a new unclaimed property program that has returned over $215 million, West Virginia’s 457 Deferred Compensation Plan, and the WVABLE program which allows individuals with disabilities the ability to save and invest up to $15,000 per year without losing eligibility for public benefit programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
The SMART 529 College Education Savings Plan has 118,000 individuals participating in according to Perdue. It is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage families to save for traditional college. Earnings on 529 investments accumulate tax-free, and distributions are tax-exempt, as long as they are applied toward eligible education expenses such as tuition and room and board, according to the program’s website.
Perdue said education changed his life and that is why he works to promote that program every day.
“Education changed me. Because I really believe that is why I work so hard at financial literacy. I believe that education at a very young age and changing people’s lives is very important,” he said.
Moore, who currently works in the defense and aerospace industry, said the treasurer’s office needs to be more modernized with its programs. He has came up with the Jump Start Savings Plan, geared towards those students who do not go to a four-year college after high school.
He said the program would cover tuition and allow those in technical and vocational schools to save money to purchase tools, equipment, training, licenses, and certifications as they come out of trade school.
Moore believes the program would result in small business growth and be good for trade unions. He began his career working as a welder in a rock quarry maintaining the mining equipment.
“It allows individuals to start savings accounts prior to graduation from technical, community college or trade schools. Start savings accounts to buy tools, types of equipment and licenses upon graduation,” Moore said.
Moore launched his campaign in March 2019 and said the COVID-19 has not halted any momentum but has only furthered it. He has traveled the state but said he utilized social media pages such as Instagram, Twitter, Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook when he stays home with his wife and two young daughters.
“In this type of election, we are a more technologically advanced election than a lot of the other statewide out there. It has worked to our advantage,” he told MetroNews.
Perdue said while he has done campaigning, he will let his record speak to the voters.
“I never let the grass grow under my feet. I always look ahead to help the people of this great state. That is what they elected me to do,” Perdue said.
“That’s why I try to work in a non-partisan way to serve them in West Virginia.”
Moore said the biggest difference between him and his opponent is who they support in Washington D.C., stating that he was a delegate for President Donald Trump and Perdue was a delegate for Joe Biden.
“In how we view the state, in how we view government and how it relates to the people, and I think in how we see the future of the state of West Virginia. Given that Vice President Joe Biden is committed to destroying the coal and natural gas industries in this country,” Moore said.
Both candidates ran unopposed on the June 9 primary ticket. The last day to early vote in-person is October 31.