Arch A. Moore, Jr.

Arch Alfred Moore, Jr. (born April 16, 1923) was the Governor of West Virginia from 1969 until 1977 and from 1985 until 1989. He was a Congressman from 1957 until entering the governor's office. He is a member of the United States Republican Party. He ran for reelection in 1988 but was defeated by Gaston Caperton. Allegations of corruption were a major reason for his defeat. He was eventually prosecuted for corruption and pleaded guilty to five felony charges. He was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison in 1990. He served over three years before his release. As a result of his conviction, Moore was disbarred and forfeited his state pension. In 1995, he paid a settlement of $750,000 to the state.

Early life

Moore was born in Moundsville, West Virginia in the state's industrial northern panhandle, to Genevieve Jones and Archie Alfred Moore. He briefly attended Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania before joining the United States Army during World War II. He received a disfiguring wound in the jaw during fighting in Germany. Moore was left for dead for two days in a German farmer's beet field after 33 of the 36 members of his platoon died in battle.

He then entered West Virginia University graduating in 1948 and then from its law school in 1951. While at WVU he was involved with student government and founded "Mountaineer Week" a celebration of West Virginia culture in response to his perception that the growing number of out-of-state students at the school were changing its character. The event has become a permanent part of the school's calendar. He was also a member of the Beta Psi chapter of Beta Theta Pi at West Virginia University and was a recipient of the fraternity's Oxford Cup.

Congressional career, 1957-1969

Moore was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1952. In 1954, Moore made his first run for Congress, challenging incumbent Democratic Congressman Robert Mollohan. Moore lost. In 1956, Mollohan vacated the seat to run for Governor of West Virginia, a race he lost to Republican Cecil Underwood. In 1956, Moore ran for the open congressional seat, winning by a margin of just 762 votes. Moore would subsequently be re-elected through the 1966 election, before seeking the governor's office in 1968. In 1962, after West Virginia lost a seat in Congress, Moore ran against long-time Democratic incumbent Cleveland M. Bailey and won.

His terms in the House were marked by strong support for public works projects and for civil rights. Moore became the ranking Republican on the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Nationality in 1960.

Governor of West Virginia, 1969-1977

The state's Constitution, which had formerly had a one-term term limit and provided for a weak governor system, was amended in 1968 to strengthen the powers of the Governor and in 1970 to provide for a two-term limit. Moore became the first person re-elected governor in 1972, defeating Jay Rockefeller. Moore's first two terms as governor are best remembered for improvements in the state's highway system and for the Buffalo Creek Flood disaster. During Moore's first two terms as Governor, West Virginia built over 225 miles of interstate highways through mountainous terrain and the New River Gorge Bridge, once the world's longest steel arch bridge.

Corruption charges and trial

In 1975 Moore and his 1972 campaign manager were accused by federal prosecutors of extorting $25,000 from the president of a holding company seeking a state charter for a new bank. Both were acquitted in 1976.

Buffalo Creek settlement

In the last week of his second term in 1977, Moore accepted a token payment from Pittston Coal Co. to settle accounts from the Buffalo Creek disaster, which killed 125 people. Moore's settlement left the state with a cleanup bill of nearly $10 million after he left office.

U.S. Senate race, 1978

In 1976 Moore was term limited from seeking a third term and declined to challenge Robert C. Byrd for a seat in the United States Senate. He rather began a two-year campaign for the state's other Senate seat, which was expected to be vacated by the aging Jennings Randolph in 1978. To the surprise of almost all observers, the obviously declining Randolph stood for re-election. His campaign was entirely financed by then-governor Rockefeller, as Randolph's six-year term as Senator and a theoretical second Rockefeller term as governor would both expire in 1984, permitting Rockefeller to run for an open seat. Moore was outspent by 5 to 1 in this election, and lost by 4717 votes.

Third term as Governor of West Virginia, 1985-1989

In 1980 Moore sought his third term as governor. Rockefeller outspent him by a figure of 20 to 1, and Moore again lost a close race.

In 1984 Moore again ran for governor and was returned by a very large margin, becoming the only West Virginia governor to be elected to three terms in office. He again turned his attention to highways, and saw the completion of last major section of interstate highway in the country, which had been left unbuilt during the Rockefeller terms, in 1988. He was defeated for re-election in 1988.

Federal conviction

In 1990, after an extensive federal investigation, Moore pled guilty to five felonies. He agreed to plead guilty after he was told that federal investigators had taped him conspiring with his former campaign manager, John Leaberry, to obstruct the investigation into his activities. Moore pled guilty to an indictment that said he accepted illegal payments during his 1984 and 1988 election campaigns, extorted more than $573,000 from a Maben Energy Corporation, a coal company based in the town of Beckley, and obstructed the investigation. Moore served two years, eight months in federal prison in Alabama and Kentucky and four months of home confinement at his home in Glen Dale, Marshall County. After his guilty plea, Moore tried repeatedly to withdraw it. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rebuffed his attempts to withdraw his plea in April 1991, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused his arguments in October 1995. As of 2005 Moore continues to maintain his innocence.

Personal biography

Moore married Shelley S. Riley in 1949 and the couple has three children. His daughter Shelley Moore Capito has been the member of the United States House of Representatives from West Virginia's 2nd Congressional district since 2001.

In 2006 former West Virginia Tax Commissioner Brad Crouser, who served during Governor Moore's third term, published the first biography of Moore, called, Arch: The Life of Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr..

Brad Crouser published a biography in 2006, now in its second printing, entitled, ARCH: The Life of Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., published by Woodland Press.

External links

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