Tags: | West Virginia | midterm elections | Senate | House of Delegates

Report: Blue State WVa to Go Red in Election

Image: Report: Blue State WVa to Go Red in Election
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By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:06 PM

Blue state bastion West Virginia is moving into red-state territory, with an expected GOP election victory next month in both a U.S. Senate race and in the state's House of Delegates and a recent drop in registered Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Senate win would be the first for a Republican in more than 50 years, and a majority in the House of Delegates would be a first in more than 80 years, The Journal notes.

And it's the first time in decades that registered Democrats recently dipped below 50 percent, the newspaper reports.

"What really moved people out of the ‘D’ category into the ‘R’ category was the election of President Obama," West Virginia University associate professor of political science John Kilwein told The Journal.

Kilwein said voters blame tougher emissions standards for shutting coal mines in the state —  though a natural-gas boom spurred by increased use of fracking technology also aided coal's downturn.

From 2008 to 2013, the amount of natural gas used to produce electricity in the U.S. rose 23 percent; the amount of coal used for generation fell 17 percent, The Journal reports.

"It’s become Obama’s 'War on Coal,'" Kilwein told The Journal.

The Journal notes an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to cut carbon emissions at power plants would severely hurt coal-fired plants, which produce about twice as much carbon as those powered by natural gas and local Democrats are trying to distance themselves from President Barack Obama.

For example, in a campaign television ad for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is running to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, asks:

"Where do they think their electricity comes from?" as a brightly lighted White House appears. Then she throws a high-voltage switch, and the White House goes dark. "I’ll make sure President Obama gets the message," she vows.

Tennant trailed Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito by 11 points in a recent Rasmussen poll.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also has pinned Rep. Nick Rahall, who was first elected to the House in 1976, to the president. One ad paid for by the group says Rahall "voted with Obama" 94 percent of the time in 2009.

"There’s anger at the administration. I get it," Rahill told The Journal, calling claims an "obvious ruse" to paint him as being anticoal and distract voters from his opponent’s inexperience.

"The last time I checked, Obama is not on the ballot in West Virginia," he said.

Rahall’s challenger for the House seat, state Sen. Evan Jenkins, switched parties last year to run in the election, and told The Journal: "Rahall is running as hard as he can away from the president."

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Blue state bastion West Virginia is moving into red-state territory, with an expected GOP election victory next month in both a U.S. Senate race and in the state's House of Delegates — and a recent drop in registered Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reports.
West Virginia, midterm elections, Senate, House of Delegates
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2014-06-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:06 PM
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