A GOP “dam ready to break” in West Virginia

posted at 3:31 pm on December 29, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Democrats in West Virginia have pretty much taken their two Senate seats for granted for a long time now. (And with good reason, since the last time the GOP held those spots, Ike was still president.) They’ve also had a fair bit of success in hanging on to at least some of their three congressional seats in the modern era. This stands in contrast to a seemingly constant ideological shift to the right among voters, demonstrated by the fact that no Democrat presidential candidate has carried the state since Bill Clinton. This shift may be setting the stage for some very interesting events in the 2014 cycle, with the retirement of Senator Jay Rockefeller and two spirited House races shifting into high gear. Specifically in WV-02, Roll Call recently rated that contest on their list of the most fascinating races to watch.

For some reason, they seem to think this is good news for Democrats, but the district still leans Red and the Dems have hooked their wagon to Nick Casey. Casey looks like a terrible choice, given the current frame of mind of West Virginia’s voters. He’s a former lobbyist for progressive groups such as FarinessWV.org and is well known to voters from his time as the incendiary chairman of the state Democratic Party. His long standing support for the President, Obamacare, gun control and a raft of other liberal touchstones doesn’t seem as if it will play well with the more socially conservative base in his district. Further, he’s sharing a media market with the 3rd district and may have a negative impact on their Democratic candidate, Nick Rahall.

In terms of filling the Senate seat, even the Paper of Record is seeing some hard times coming for the Democrats this time around

An accelerating rightward tilt here was reflected recently in an awkward two-step by the Democratic nominee for an open seat, Natalie Tennant, as she distanced herself from the White House after a fund-raising trip to New York.

In a Sheraton ballroom, Ms. Tennant, West Virginia’s secretary of state, listened to Michelle Obama urge donors to write “a big old fat check” to her and other women running for the Senate.

But back home, where President Obama is deeply unpopular, Ms. Tennant’s campaign quickly sought to wriggle out of the embrace of the White House, insisting to the local news media that “what the first lady said is not an endorsement.”

Running away from an endorsement by the First Lady is one thing, but this little slip of the lip about her husband was a doozy.

In an interview, Ms. Tennant even seemed to downgrade the president’s title. “I don’t answer to Senator Obama,” she said. “I answer to the people of West Virginia.” (A spokeswoman later said that was an unintentional slip of the tongue.)

Charleston Democrat leaders are already tossing out statements saying that the GOP can’t “run against Obama” in these races, and if voters want to vote against the President they should, “wait until he runs for school board in Illinois.” It’s obvious at this point that the entire Democrat Party in West Virginia is in full speed retreat away from Barack Obama and all things related to him, but it’s going to be hard for their candidates to erase their combined records of previous support.

West Virginia would be an excellent pick-up opportunity in the GOP’s efforts to take the Senate majority next fall, and solidifying their hold on their House seats would just be icing on the cake. Only a year or so ago I’d have not even listed this race on the radar, but it’s looking extremely competitive now.


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Watch them take WV and losing GA, the fools.

Schadenfreude on December 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

That would be a sweet pick up…

OmahaConservative on December 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Manchin is laying groundwork for a party change. Might only go to an “I”, but I believe he’s leaving the Democrat Party.

forest on December 29, 2013 at 3:45 PM

We need this in other states!

22044 on December 29, 2013 at 3:46 PM

The establishment GOP will figure out a way to screw it up. Karl Rove never misses an opportunity to pu an unelectable RINO on the ballot.

SayNo2-O on December 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

WV trending red, worth 5 electoral votes

VA trending blue, worth 13 electoral votes

This is nothing to cheer about.

Mark1971 on December 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM

We will see. It may make up a bit for losing Virginia.

Mr. Joe on December 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Do not count your chickens before they hatch…

albill on December 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

I’ve been reading stories like this since 1980. Here we are; we have the most liberal president and the most liberal senate we’ve ever had.

Labamigo on December 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Pretty much everything depends on what they do (or don’t do) about amnesty.

Doomberg on December 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM

As much as I regret saying it, The GOP will surely screw it up. The Republicans don’t simply shoot themselves in the foot, they blow off their entire lower bodies.

rplat on December 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

It’s obvious at this point that the entire Democrat Party in West Virginia is in full speed retreat away from Barack Obama and all things related to him, but it’s going to be hard for their candidates to erase their combined records of previous support.

But why? Obamacare has been such a success. The coal companies are thriving under Obama’s new raft of environmental regulation. And nobody would accuse West Virginians of being traditional values folk especially when it comes to the Second Amendment and religious civil liberties.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

As much as I regret saying it, The GOP will surely screw it up. The Republicans don’t simply shoot themselves in the foot, they blow off their entire lower bodies.

rplat on December 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Yeah, with IEDs like Todd Akin or Marco Rubio. Candidates who only appeal to part of the GOP while openly despising the other factions.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 4:13 PM

In an interview, Ms. Tennant even seemed to downgrade the president’s title. “I don’t answer to Senator Obama,” she said. “I answer to the people of West Virginia.” (A spokeswoman later said that was an unintentional slip of the tongue.)

…so… we know what crack she has tonged …for the last five years…while she was sleeping!

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

You mean the idiot coal miners finally figured out that the unions don’t sign their paychecks? Better late than never.

Farenht451 on December 29, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Bullcrap! Did we not learn anything list year? Polls don’t mean squat, punditry doesn’t mean squat and wishful thinking doesn’t mean squat UNTIL THE VOTES ARE COUNTED!

HiJack on December 29, 2013 at 4:33 PM

… unless the Republican leadership does something idiotic to suppress turnout, like let Ryan/Goodlatte/Cantor pass an Amnesty bill for Obama.

DaMav on December 29, 2013 at 4:38 PM

While agreeing with the desire and ability of the Institutional Republican party to bend over for the Democrats; there is another factor in play. West Virginia has been a Democrat state for a long time. Who counts the votes?

And I think that Manchin is just teasing. He talks the talk, sometimes, at home. He releases pictures of himself holding a firearm. But he votes as he is told by Harry Reid.

Subotai Bahadur on December 29, 2013 at 4:38 PM

WV trending red, worth 5 electoral votes

VA trending blue, worth 13 electoral votes

This is nothing to cheer about.

Mark1971 on December 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM

How about Virginia secede from NE VA — the old Virginia part of DC, and then join up with WV. Maybe even make the Arlington area become part of DC and lose the blue part of the state as it is in fact simply an extension of the federal government.

rbj on December 29, 2013 at 4:40 PM

…and the beat goes on – faster and faster!

Another Drew on December 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Do not count your chickens before they hatch come home to roooooooooossssst!…

albill on December 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Lanceman on December 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM

The platform should include naming the Robert KKK Byrd Memorial penitentiary and denaming everything else.

viking01 on December 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM

After enduring this SCFoaMF administration for the previous 5 years – with 3 more (UGH) to go, I believe the seething contempt for anything ‘democrat’ will roil over any restraints come the 2014 mid-term elections.

locomotivebreath1901 on December 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

I’m not buying it. Look at VA and how they voted in that crook McCauliff. He is anti gun, pro abortion, pro higher taxes and a crook to boot but the brain trust in VA voted him in. You have to figure that WV is a deviation DOWN on the IQ curve so do not expect too much.

inspectorudy on December 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Look at VA and how they voted in that crook McCauliff. He is anti gun, pro abortion, pro higher taxes and a crook to boot but the brain trust in VA voted him in.

Hey don’t blame it on every voter in the Commonwealth. Blame it on stupid- rabidly stupid women and “moderate” Republicans like Bolling who actually helped McAuliffe when they’re own hopes at becoming the candidate were dashed.

West Virginia is a different dynamic.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Maybe even make the Arlington area become part of DC and lose the blue part of the state as it is in fact simply an extension of the federal government.

rbj on December 29, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I’m sure you mean make Arlington become part of DC again. But let’s not let history get in the way of good old-fashioned faux outrage.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Manchin is laying groundwork for a party change. Might only go to an “I”, but I believe he’s leaving the Democrat Party.

forest on December 29, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Why would we want him? He’s proven he has no principles aside from keeping his seat. Oh, on second thought, he’ll fit right in with the GOP.

CurtZHP on December 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I’m sure you mean make Arlington become part of DC again. But let’s not let history get in the way of good old-fashioned faux outrage.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Yes, that is what I meant.

rbj on December 29, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Why would we want him? He’s proven he has no principles aside from keeping his seat. Oh, on second thought, he’ll fit right in with the GOP.

CurtZHP on December 29, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I’d rather he stay a Democrat and replace him, but he may become Indy to try to save himself.

forest on December 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM

inspectorudy on December 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Totally different state and voters. I live in VA and had to endure the endless McAuliffe abortion/birth control fear mongering ads that drove all the single 20-something NoVa socialite women to the polls. Ken had very little money and viewed cultural attacks as an opportunity to espouse his economic plan – a recipe for failure.

Democrats never let outlandish charges go unanswered (even if they’re true). They’ve figured out that if you can label your opponent as crazy, they will vote against you even if they agree with most if your ideas, as people did with KC. Having a lot of money to drive your message helps a lot, as TM did.

WV voters are having an identity disorder. Culturally conservative, they see how radicalized their national party has become. So, they categorically reject Obama while the elect D’s who tell them what they want to hear and vote with the national party as often as they can while still holding onto their jobs (pork softens the blow).

crrr6 on December 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Manchin is laying groundwork for a party change. Might only go to an “I”, but I believe he’s leaving the Democrat Party.

forest on December 29, 2013 at 3:45 PM

I’d say it is the other way around. The US Senate is seniority-bound. He doesn’t have the say of KKK Byrd or Jay Rockefeller. As a Democrat, he’s expected to keep the goodies coming even though the state’s sugar daddy is retiring. That’s a lot of pressure- especially if a Republican is elected to the Senate in 2014.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 5:40 PM

He doesn’t have the say of KKK Byrd

He doesn’t have the sway of KKK Byrd.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Manchin switching from D to R?
What’s not to like? I mean, besides Everything?
Manchin, at BEST, will be a McConnell/Graham/McCain country club Republican. Far as I’m concerned, the guy might as well be a 5th Column plant for the Democrats. While I’m not a conspiracy theorist in general, the tinfoil hat crowd has been right altogether too often in the last five years (“NSA monitoring our phonecalls? Preposterous!”) to ignore the suggestion.

Congressional Republicans don’t fear losing: they fear WINNING, with the entry of more actual conservatives who will make their fence-straddling increasingly difficult to defend to voters. No, no: Better to acquire a few ‘born-again Republicrats’ like Manchin, whilst doing everything possible to dig the foundation out from under current, and would-be conservative Senators and Congressmen.
After all, if these crazed wanna-be legislators get into Congress, with their…’principle’ thingies intact, how’s anyone gonna toss a little pork to their corporate and industrial constituents?

orangemtl on December 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM

WV trending red, worth 5 electoral votes

VA trending blue, worth 13 electoral votes

This is nothing to cheer about.

Mark1971 on December 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Do not panic. Do not take off your shoes.

Virginia went for Obama twice because of record-breaking turnouts of blacks and young voters entranced by his cult. Cuccinelli failed to unite his own state party and so trailed for most of the year in polling by double digits, making it impossible to attract enough money to be competitive – BUT if not for the stupid shutdown sucking the oxygen out of three weeks of prime campaigning time, might yet have overtaken McAuliffe and won.

These three elections may not be easily dismissed as anomalous, but neither do they constitute a trend – yet. Let’s let Virginia get a good old mouthful of ObamaCare and McAuliffe cronyism and see how they like it.

Adjoran on December 29, 2013 at 5:47 PM

West Virginians love the freebies from Uncle Sugar. Always have and always will. they are too inbred with the dumb ass democrat genes to change, even if the wanted.

they lie on December 29, 2013 at 5:59 PM

It’s West Byrdginia, owned and operated by Democrats for decades.

Oldnuke on December 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM

And this damn couldn’t have broken 14 months ago?

Alberta_Patriot on December 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Color me skeptical, you can’t stop a union shop.

Knott Buyinit on December 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM

…….if only we don’t nominate a wrath Sharon Anglin’s.

Tater Salad on December 29, 2013 at 7:17 PM

There is no doubt in my mind the ignorant GOP will eff this up. Dems win a landslide in 2014.

Nice try again Rove.

Mr. Arrogant on December 29, 2013 at 7:30 PM

It’s West Byrdginia, owned and operated by Democrats for decades.

Oldnuke on December 29, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Yep.

ladyingray on December 29, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Odd. Didn’t King Barack once tell Democratic pols ‘don’t worry, you have ME!’.

GarandFan on December 29, 2013 at 7:43 PM

….if only we don’t nominate a wrath Sharon Anglin’s.

Tater Salad on December 29, 2013 at 7:17 PM

Shelley Moore Capito is no Sharon Angle, and she will win the Senate race!

thuja on December 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM

I’d love to believe that WV will evolve and elect Republicans, but these people were blind enough to elect two-faced weasel Joe Manchin. I am not holding my breath.

Philly on December 29, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Happy Nomad: “Hey don’t blame it on every voter in the Commonwealth. Blame it on stupid- rabidly stupid women and “moderate” Republicans like Bolling who actually helped McAuliffe when they’re own hopes at becoming the candidate were dashed”.

Agree, Nomad. However, much blame also goes to the 3rd party fake libertarian, planted there by the Clintons & bankrolled by the Democratic party & an Obama bundler. & then there’s the RNC who pulled support from Cuccinelli.

Let’s face it. We’re stuck with Karl Rove & Reince Priebus. The Dems play dirty & we play stupid.

Belle on December 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

More important in WV has been the decline of the Democrat majority in their state legislature. Democrats currently hold only a 6 seat majority in the House of Delegates (contrast with a 60 seat majority in 1988) and a 14 seat majority in the state Senate. The state government could very well flip in 2014.

crosspatch on December 30, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Speaking as a lifelong West Virginian, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Barring a catastrophic faux pas, Capito will take the senate seat and I expect her district to remain R. And Nick Joe Rahall has seen his margins decreasing and he did vote for Obamacare even though he’s back pedaling for all his worth. I think he’s going to face a very strong candidate in a newly minted Republican state senator.

Bad mouth us all you like, but in the last fifteen years we will have transitioned from an all D team to three republicans in the house and one republican senator. If, as I hope and think will happen in 2014, the Republicans regain the senate or even break 50-50, I can see Manchin rethinking his alignment, particularly if it looks as though the Republicans will take the White House in 2016. He may auction himself off to the party that can give him the best deal.

Some of you may think we are all stupid and backward, but while the best and brightest have been rushing pell mell into the liberal disaster we have been slowly and quietly beginning to align our voting patterns with our values.

Nosli W. Nevets on December 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Good news, Nosli. I also am wondering if/when Manchin will go Independent or even Repub.

PattyJ on December 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

We can only hope that W. Virginia breaks for the Republicans, but then, I was positive America would never re-elect Obama.

kjatexas on December 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Let’s face it. We’re stuck with Karl Rove & Reince Priebus. The Dems play dirty & we play stupid.

Belle

The GOP plays dirty against Conservatives, dumb against dems.

jan Brewer paid petition gatherers/firms NOT to gather signatures for a petition fighting Obamacare.
Be nice if they fought the dems like they fight us.

Hard Right on December 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

And with Christie on the ballot in 2016, what does this matter? I have held my nose for the last time when I voted for Palin for VP. I refuse to vote for another democrat-lite that’s put up by the GOP power brokers.

Let them eat cake.

Wino on January 1, 2014 at 10:00 PM