Ray Sullivan is a Republican politician who served as the Governor of West Virginia. In 2006, Governor Sullivan ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee.
Ray Sullivan was born on April 7, 1959 to Bob and Julia Sullivan. Ray is a fourth-generation West Virginian whose family was immersed in West Virginia culture and history. Ray's great-great-grandfather was a coal miner who eventually rose to become the owner of a coal-mining business. The family enjoyed great wealth until the Great Depression, which bankrupted the company so that Ray's grandfather was raised in poverty. Ray's grandfather was a Naval veteran and a professional heavyweight boxer who became famous in West Virginia and served as a West Virginia State Representative and State Senator. Ray's father owned Sullivan Motors, a lucrative car dealership, and his mother was a homemaker. Ray was a bright boy and was an honors student and a member of the varsity football and baseball teams. Following high school he received a partial-scholarship to Vanderbilt for baseball. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to West Virginia University College of Law, graduating with his Juris Doctorate in 1985.
Following law school, while he was working toward taking the bar exam, he clerked for a West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Judge. Once he had passed the bar, the judge convinced Ray to become an Assistant District Attorney in Charleston, West Virginia, the state's capital. Ray showed himself to be talented and tough in his job and rose to the position of District Attorney by 1987. In December of 1989, Ray left the DA's office to open his own law firm. In early 1991, Ray was named by conservative President-Elect Owen Lassiter as his choice for US Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. Ray became the youngest US Attorney ever confirmed by the United States Senate at the age of 31. Ray served as US Attorney until 1993, when he stepped down to work in the private sector.
In 1994, Sullivan successfully ran for Attorney General of West Virginia and won with 56% of the vote and then won re-election in 1998 with 58% of the vote. During his tenure as State Attorney General, Sullivan would amass the highest white-collar crime conviction rate in West Virginia history.
After serving 8 years as Attorney General, Sullivan won the governorship with 62% of the vote during the 2002 Elections. During his four years as Governor he balanced the state's budget. Sullivan is a run-of-the-mill conservative who takes a strong pro-life stance and reportedly could "get on board" with Arnold Vinick's libertarian positions. Sullivan had strong connections to the Christian-right who reportedly approved of all of the Judges he had nominated in his position as Governor of West Virginia.
2006 Presidential Election
During the 2006 Presidential Elections, California Senator Arnold Vinick won the Republican nomination at the end of the primary season. Following this Sullivan was placed at the top of the list of candidates for the Vice Presidential nomination. Vinick liked the fact that Sullivan was a popular conservative Governor from West Virginia a state that usually voted Democrat. He was also impressed with Sullivan's record for going after big business despite being a Republican and also liked the fact that he was able to balance the state's budget in only four years as Governor. Although Reverend Don Butler of Virginia was viewed to appeal more to the Republican base due to his position as the runner-up for the Republican nomination, Vinick was apprehensive to name Butler as his running-mate due to the comments Butler had thrown at him during the primaries over Vinick's abortion stance. Vinick also might have privately been against naming Butler as his running-mate because of Butler's position in the church while Vinick didn't profess to having any strong religious views and might have secretly been an atheist. After a meeting between Butler and Vinick, Butler made it clear to both the Republican candidate and the press that he was not interested in running for the Vice Presidency due to Vinick's stance on abortion. Following this revelation, Vinick chose Sullivan to be his running-mate as in Sullivan's own words "could get onboard with all of his (Vinick's) positions except for abortion" which would appeal to the party base.
Once nominated at the Republican National Convention as Vinick's Vice-Presidential nominee, he fulfilled the "attack dog" role often expected of running mates, blasting the administration of Democratic incumbent President Josiah Bartlet.
During the general election, Vinick sent Governor Sullivan campaigning in the South to energize social conservatives of the Republican base. He also served as a liaison between the Vinick Campaign and the religious right and at one point was sent in to "soothe over" a discrepancy about Vinick's possible choices for Supreme Court Judges and the Judge's positions on abortion. During the Vice-Presidential debates, Governor Sullivan went face-to-face with Leo McGarry, the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee who previously had served as White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Labor.
On Election Day, the Vinick/Sullivan Moving America Forward campaign earned a majority of the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. Afterwards, Senator Vinick is tapped by President-Elect Matt Santos for the position of Secretary of State.
- Vanderbilt University
- West Virginia University College of Law
- US Attorney for the Justice Department
- 1994-2002: Attorney General of West Virginia
- 2002-2006: Governor of West Virginia
- 2006: Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee