Some people think he's been drinking more than water if he thinks he's qualified for the position.
State law requires the Agriculture Commissioner be a "Practical Farmer" and made agriculture their "chief business" for 10 years prior to being elected. His opponent, Kent Leonhardt, believes it matters. "You can't ask a young farmer to start farming unless you've done it yourself. That's leadership. Plus, you're going to have a lot of contact with farmers. You have to have that knowledge. You have to be able to talk that talk."
Helmick has made it clear he doesn't want to make this election about qualifications or experience. "For some reason Kent Leonhardt thinks his 15 years of farming 380 acres of hay with a bunch of sheep, goats and cattle mean anything to West Virginian farmers. I respect that he's a Marine who came home to West Virginia with his wife and restored a farm that had been abandoned for 40 years. Everyone knows he has a formal education in Science of Agriculture and a Master's Degree in Business Management. So what?!
"Kent admits that when he and his wife stepped foot on that farm in 1996, he was as much a farming novice as I am right now!"
Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom did what he could to put the issue to rest by ruling against an attempt to remove Helmick's name from the March ballot. Bloom stated in his decision that "...the law's requirements are unconstitutional and unenforceable."
"Why are Republicans always challenging elections with silly things like requirements?" asked Tim Beratt Leer, Democratic Strategist with the group, 'Don't Think! Just Vote Democrat'. "Don't they understand laws are for everyone else - not for the people who make them? It's not like there should be a higher standard. I'm not so sure there should be a standard at all... not for Democrat leaders. It's the Republicans you have to watch out for; always talking about the Constitution, Laws, etc. All that should matter is if we can win elections."
On that issue, Helmick is confident. "The court said this is not an issue. I'm not going to spend any of my time dealing with that. [I won the primary, so] I think that has been answered by the people of West Virginia. [The] people have spoken."
Helmick does admit he has sleepless nights. Particularly when Al Gore is calling him at 2 am. "Ok, so my farm is a
extremely somewhat less 'green' than real most farms. I mean, while a real traditional farms produce can be recycled to replenish the earth and grow even more; my water bottles are ultimately choking the life out of our enviroment [LINK]. Other than that, and the fact that I don't plant, feed, tend, or do anything to create my product, it's exactly the same."
Helmick recently received exciting news, "We got a call from the White House, yesterday. It turns out Team Obama is ordering cases of my water for the Presidential Election After-Party. They are going to love it! My water makes great koolaid."
Related: Kent Leonhardt for WV