Republican Shelley Moore Capito leads her Democratic opponent Natalie Tennant by 17 points, according to a new poll of the West Virginia Senate race from Rasmussen Reports. An even 50 percent say they support Capito, the congresswoman and daughter of former governor Arch Moore, while just 33 percent say they support Tennant, the secretary of state. That's the widest gap Rasmussen has found in the race since its February poll that gave Capito a 14-point lead.
"Is the West Virginia Senate race turning into a rout?" asks Rasmussen.
Capito has led solidly from the beginning of her campaign to succeed retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller. A seven-term member of the House, Capito is benefitting from the Mountain State's steady turn toward the GOP in national elections. Her first election to Congress came in 2000, the first of four consecutive presidential elections where the Republican nominee won the state. If elected, Capito will become the first Republican senator from West Virginia since the Eisenhower administration.
And Capito has proven she can win. In 2012, she won Jackson County (home of Ravenswood and Ripley) by more than 30 points, outperforming Mitt Romney by 11 points and Democratic senator Joe Manchin by nearly 15 points. Across her district, she won nearly 70 percent of the vote.
That’s remarkable for this nominally red state. Conservative, rural, overwhelmingly white West Virginia has voted for the Republican nominee for president for four straight elections, but Democrats still thrive here. Party registration favors Democrats over Republicans by nearly two to one. The governor is a Democrat, and Democrats control both houses of the legislature. The state’s Democratic party is much more conservative than the national party, particularly on social and environmental issues. Manchin, the former governor, won his special election to replace the late Robert Byrd, a Democrat, in the Senate in 2010 with an ad that showed him shooting a bullet through the text of a cap and trade bill.
Republicans have distinct advantages in Senate races this year, including President Obama’s low job ratings, the number of vulnerable Democrats, and an unhappy national mood. But there’s another advantage: the generally high quality of their candidates. This wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans blew chances to capture the Senate.
The next senator from West Virginia will be a woman, a first for the state. Republican congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Democratic secretary of state Natalie Tennant are projected to win their parties' respective primaries.
Ravenswood, W.Va. "I bet this guy’s a hunter.” Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican congresswoman who gives every sign of winning her race for the Senate, points at a worker in the front row with a youthfully cherubic face underneath a camouflage cap. He looks up at her.
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin broke with his party's leader in the Senate by refusing to attack a pair of wealthy billionaire brothers who donate to free-market causes. Asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's frequent attacks on Charles and David Koch, Manchin told Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Thursday morning that there's nothing wrong with what the brothers are doing.
What do Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia have in common? For one, none has a city larger than 400,000 people. For another, they all voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. For yet another, they are the most likely places for Republicans to pick up Senate seats, thus taking control of the upper chamber, in 2014.
Republican House member Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will challenge Democrat Jay Rockefeller for the U.S. Senate. At 59, Capito, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2001 and is the daughter of former West Virginia governor Arch Moore, will be facing a 75-year-old Rockefeller, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984.
Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to answer a question about his position on repealing part or all of Obamacare this afternoon outside the Senate chamber. Asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD if he supported repealing any part of the 2010 health care law, Manchin then stepped into an elevator with retiring Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who laughed as the elevator doors closed.
Alex Pappas reports that West Virginia Democrats continue to distance themselves from President Barack Obama:
In a move showing how politically toxic President Barack Obama has become in parts of the country, three prominent West Virginia Democrats announced Monday they will not attend the Democratic National Convention in September.
“We’ve had some small contributions, but the largest was, I think, maybe a hundred dollars,” says presidential candidate John Wolfe Jr., speaking to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “I’m basically paying for this myself, dipping into my retirement account.”
As he sat in a prison cell in Texas, Keith Judd, inmate # 11593-051, was winning 40% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic primary last week amid whatever fanfare one could receive in such a place.