Democrats in big trouble in West Virginia

Nate Cohn:
After a brutal Election Day, Republicans led off the 2014 recruiting cycle with some good news: Popular West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito announced that she would challenge long-time Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller for his seat. Although Rockefeller has never won reelection by less than 27 percentage points and Democrats continue to dominate at the state-level in West Virginia, Republicans have plenty of cause to be optimistic about their chances in the Mountain State.


The national Democratic Party’s embrace of gun control and environmental regulations brought an abrupt end to West Virginia’s Democratic-lean in presidential elections, but local and state Democrats distanced themselves from the national party on cultural and environmental issues and continued to succeed in statewide elections. Indeed, Rockefeller won reelection by 27 points in 2008, even though McCain won the state by 13 points—a 40-point gap. But after four years of the Obama administration, it is unclear whether Rockefeller can pull it off again. The fight over Cap and Trade and the so-called “War on Coal” were devastating blows to Obama’s standing in coal country, turning an area that was as blue as New York into one as crimson as Alabama. (For example, Romney gained a staggering 42 points over McCain’s performance in Boone County and won by 31 points, even though Boone had voted for Democrats in all but one presidential election since Coolidge.)

If Obama was the only Democratic candidate suffering in coal country, perhaps Rockefeller could comfortably win reelection. But the recent performances of Democratic Senate candidates in neighboring counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia cast serious doubt on the extent that coal-country voters continue to distinguish between national and state Democratic candidates.

Democrats have clearly lost the votes of coal miners who now recognize that electing Democrats is against their interest.  In my opinion that is just one more reason why Rockefeller should be defeated.  He is a liberal who is out of touch with voters.  West Virginia is become less less blue with each election.

BTW, Cohn's piece was in the liberal New Republic.  They know they are in trouble.


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