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 One of many, many people Ken met while campaigning in 1958

Ken Hechler began his WV political career 50 years ago today. On this date he entered the Democratic Party primary, competing against several well-established candidates. No one thought he could win….but he did. It was one of WV’s greatest political upsets, starting the career of WV’s most progressive political leader. He wrote a 2,700 word article, published by the Huntington Herald Dispatch today.

 Gordon Simmons wrote a nice article on the campaign for Goldenseal magazine recently, but this article reveals more details on what it took for a dark horse from Long Island, NY to win in WV.   Rather than berate his opponents, he always used positive language. He also used direct contact with the voters of his district rather than various political machines to win and was always positive about his opponents – thus the term “the politics of niceness.”


Ken talking to a voter on location.