CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2014 Primary and General Elections promise to be busy campaigns in West Virginia.  All three Congressional districts feature known candidates who may make election nights in both May and November interesting.

The two party chairs in West Virginia enter the election year with optimism for their parties.  Democrats have long held the edge in West Virginia although that support has eroded in recent years as the national party seemed to distance itself away in support of many of the boilerplate issues important to West Virginians. Democrat Party Chairman Larry Puccio downplays the impact of that shift in the West Virginia races.

“Candidates win today, parties don’t win,” Puccio said. “A good candidate who works hard and builds trust with people is who wins these races.  We’re blessed we’re going to have three very good candidates in the general election.”

Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas would agree a good candidate is important, but notes the divide which developed in the last five years between West Virginia and national Democrat Party leaders has changed the landscape in West Virginia.

“I think it’s probable that all three Congressional seats will be filled by Republicans,” Lucas said. “It’s a good time to be on our side.”

Lucas noted the number of Republicans who’ve signed on to run for the nomination in the Second Congressional District as a sign of strength.

“At one point in time it was like pulling teeth to get Republicans to run for office in West Virginia,” said Lucas. “Now with an open Congressional seat we see a lot of folks who see this as an opportunity to serve the state in Washington D.C.”

The Democrats have long wanted to win back the Second District seat which Shelly Moore Capito has held for more than a decade.  They’ll put up two known names in former state party chairman Nick Casey and Kanawha County Delegate Meesha Poore in the race.

“Meesha and Nick both are very well known and respected. I think they’ll do well,” said Puccio.

Republican Congressman David McKinley will seek a second term as the First District representative from West Virginia.   He’ll face a stiff challenge from longtime State Auditor Glen Gainer who’ll seek the Democrat Party nomination.

The highest prize Republicans are after is the Third District Congressional seat occupied by Democrat Congressman Nick Rahall for more than 30-years.  Lucas thinks Rahall’s longevity is as much a weakness as it is a strength.

“Yes Nick Rahall is running on 36 years of experience, but so are we,” Lucas said. “We want to point out all of the disservice he does to West Virginians in Washington D.C.”

Rahall also faces primary opposition from Democrat Richard Ojeda of Logan County.

Republicans were successful in coaxing Cabell County Democrat state senator Evan Jenkins to switch parties and seek the Congressional seat. Puccio believes that will be Jenkins’ sore spot.

“I think the people in Huntington are very upset that Evan Jenkins ran under one set of circumstances and then for personal gain changed in the middle of the stream,” said Puccio. “They feel betrayed and at this point a lot of folks are stepping up and asking him to resign.”

 

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Comments

  • Jenny

    I just hope the voters of WV look at the records and what had been done. If you do Democrats will win hands down . Only way Republicans win is if outsiders come in and buy the election. How is that fair?

  • Jim Doran

    I am not a Rahall fan, I'm also a registered Republican and have been for 47 years. However, the GOP in WV needs a massive shake up. In the 6 years I've lived here they have NEVER put up a Republican against Rahall. What they've put up is Democrats who changed parties just to get on the ballot. All things being equal, I thing the new guy should be Ojeda. It's time to fill the Congress with people who care about their neighbors.

  • Charlie Basford

    A good redneck has no patients for social issues. They benefit the few at the expense of the majority. This election will be about giving mom and dad a paycheck instead of a welfare card. I have yet to meet a mountaineer who will say he/she is better off today than he/she was two election cycles ago. This election is about moving us out of poverty from an +80 year reign by liberals who's agenda has always been to keep us uneducated and barefoot. Times have changed and conservatives are at the goal line poised to punch the ball over and take the lead.

  • WV Worker

    Why is Natalie Tennant's name not being mentioned. Does anyone believe she has a chance to win the senate race? She does have all that expierence as a mountaineer mascot. That should be enough to get the democrat vote.

  • Butch

    Republicans have been screaming over-regulation for the last 5 years and look where we are? We can't drink the water. WV is waking up to the corporate lies. They put profits over people and WV has had enough!!!!!

    • STEVE DAVIS

      Let me get this straight....the Democrats have had the majority across the board and the Governor has been a Democrat and the problem with the water is the Republican's fault. Where have I heard that logic before?

    • Max

      There were regulations in place to have prevented the water contamination...look who was in charge of enforcing them "Democrats"...they got campaign contributions from Freedom also...the legislature wants you to think they had no control over regulating those tanks until now...BS...we don't need another bill passed...enforce what is on the books now...and the ability to inspect those tanks already exists...it just wasn't done by THE DEMOCRATS who are in charge of the Executive Branch at both the State and Federal level...wake up man.

  • Wirerowe

    I think McKinely and Nick Casey win. Earlier on I thought Evan Jenkins would win. While this one will be close, I am now leaning to Rahall squeaking by.

  • BAC

    Past opponents of Rahall would have defeated him, had they carried Cabell County. Jenkins will carry Cabell County.

  • Gary Karstens

    I will be looking at the candidates that support gay rights, marriage and equality standards for gays. It is time WV arrives in this century.

    • gary lilly

      This is why Republicans will win. Most West Virginians who claim to be Democrats are actually DINO. They register as Democrats because of the huge Democrat edge in many counties. Most West Virginians belief system are geared to the Republican Party platform. Most people are still in this century. Last I read gay marriage is isn't popular in West Virginia and it goes against Gods word. Maybe the Bible isn't popular with you but it's everything to me and most peoplr I know.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Really? That's what you are looking for? You are what Lenin called a "useful idiot." Look at what they want the government to take out of your pay. Look at how far they're willing the government to alienate your CONSTITUTIONAL rights. THAT should decide your vote, not gay marriage.

  • C. F. T.

    Democrats 0 for 3, 1 st. district McKinley has shown thar he is an Conservative statesman who holds to his principals, Auditor Office Employees label Gainers management as Animal House, 2nd. Former WV Democrat Party Chair Nick Casey lapdog to Joe Manchin and active supporter of Obama and 3rd Rahall proven Obama yes man, Jenkins flipped parties because Democrats have gone Left of Left Socialist and denounced God.

    • James

      And the republicans have won a majority of the popular vote in presidential elections 1 time in the last 24 years. Keep clinging to your guns and religion, while the rest of the US passes you by.

  • Jasper

    In light of the recent water crisis, i am looking closely at those candidates who have been are still actively working for long term solutions so this will never happen again. I have not been pleased with the responses of Manchin or Capito.