WINFIELD – Putnam Circuit Judge O.C. "Hobby" Spaulding is putting his money where his reputation is.
Spaulding, who filed last week for a third term on the bench, said he will not accept contributions from anyone in his campaign.
"I will finance my campaign from my personal savings and will not accept contributions from others," he said. "When people, and especially attorneys, put money into a judge's campaign, some may think that judge owes them something.
"I think the better way is not only to have no impropriety but to avoid even the appearance of any impropriety."
Spaulding, a Democrat, was first elected judge in 1992 and was re-elected in 2000. Before that, he was Putnam County's prosecuting attorney from 1987 to 1992. He was an assistant prosecutor from 1977 to 1987. And before that, he was in private practice in Hurricane after his graduation from the West Virginia University College of Law in 1973.
"My reputation is of being a good, honest and fair judge," he said. "I hope the people of Putnam County will help me continue in that position."
Spaulding currently is serving on two legislative commissions as a state Supreme Court appointee, one on eyewitness identification and another on the residential placement of children. He also regularly teaches continuing legal education classes for fellow judges as well as the WVU College of Law, the West Virginia Public Defenders and the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association. He is president-elect of the West Virginia Judicial Association.
He earned is bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and worked a few years in Baltimore for IBM. Other than that, Spaulding said he has spent the rest of his 62 years in West Virginia. He was born in Fairmont and raised in Huntington. He said his ties to the state go back to his ninth great grandfather Morgan Morgan, who widely is considered the first European settler in what is now West Virginia.
"I'm considered to be one of the more learned and studious judges in the state," Spaulding said. "I'm proud of that reputation."
Spaulding is facing a challenge for his Division II seat from fellow Democrat Rosalee Juba-Plumley.
For the county's other judgeship, Ed Eagloski had not yet filed for re-election at press time. But Hurricane attorney David L. Hill, a Democrat, has. The filing deadline was Jan. 27.