WASHINGTON, D.C. — A national political writer is predicting an increasingly nasty campaign in West Virginia’s Third Congressional District, leading up to November, as Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV, 3) tries to hang on to the U.S. House seat he’s held since 1976.

“It’s going to be quite ugly,” said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of The Rothenberg Political Report — a national non-partisan political publication that currently lists the state’s Third District as one of seven “toss up” Congressional districts across the country.

“The Congressman is facing a reelection race like he’s never faced before,” said Gonzales who characterized the campaign between the likely nominees, Rahall and state Senator Evan Jenkins (R-5, Cabell), as a “race to bottom,” with the opposing candidates – and the groups that support them – spending a lot of money to tell voters why the other guy is a bad choice.

Jenkins switched political parties last year to run for the Republican nomination for Congress in West Virginia’s Third District and challenge Rahall.  Even though the candidates will not be officially nominated until the May 13 primary election, attack ads have been airing for months in the Third District.

On CNN’s “Inside Politics” on Sunday, John King reported Democratic leaders talked Rahall out of a retiring “a couple of weeks ago” by promising him more money to support his reelection campaign.

“He’s one of the guys under attack by outside interest groups, including the Koch brothers,” said King.

In response to King’s report, Diane Luensmann, Rahall’s communications director, said Rahall “has been committed to running for reelection from the moment he announced his candidacy.  Nothing has changed in the interim.”

Gonzalez said he was not surprised with the King report since, he thinks, Rahall will need the help.

“There is a chunk of voters (in the Third District) who are willing to vote Republican in federal races.  They just haven’t been voting Republican in the Congressional race.  So those voters are there, they (the Republicans) just have to identify them and get them to finally flip that switch,” Gonzales said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

He said the current Democratic leadership in Washington, D.C. will benefit Republicans in Rahall’s home district.

“What’s the weight that Rahall has to overcome in order to win?” asked Gonzalez.  “We have to wait and see how both candidates react when the heat is turned up.”

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Comments

  • Brian

    Don't have a vote-outside of my district. But I do believe this story will highlight a trend-WV voters voting republican for 2 reasons. 1 WV is a conservative population better represented by Republicans in DC and 2 Obama and the liberal Dems have disgusted the Democrats in WV to the point where they don't want a D attached to anyone representing them in DC - might be ok for local races but not national-it hasn't in the past 2 presidential elections.

  • Brenda W

    Just curious. How many out there knew that Rahall received campaign money from Cair? ( a organization that was a backer of the Muslim brotherhood )... I don't know if it has been scrubbed or not, but I read it three years ago and tried to get the word out . No one listened.. The left does not care who the candidate is or where they take us as long as the free money and gifts keep coming in... We are on our way to communism if the people don't wake up. Rahall has been in office for 37 years and WV has never got off the bottom,, How long does it take for West Virginia to wake up? The Democrat party does not exist anymore, it has been taken over by the communist party...Just look at Obama, HE WANTS YOUR FREEDOM......SPOKEN BY A X DEMOCRAT

  • Eric

    Time to rid this state of the "good ol boys" i.e Rahall...wish earl ray billy bob..etc could go too. You keep electing these creeps and that's exactly why this state keep ranking near the bottom of the barrel.

    • Brenda Wilson

      I am glad to see someone that thinks like me... I was beginning to feel alone....

  • Mister G!

    Karl Childers could beat Nicky Joe this time around ...

  • DP

    joe smithers-I don't know why I'm even bothering to take the time with a clueless guy such as yourself! But, for your edification, Koch Bros. Industries has approximately 60,000 workers whom are paid considerably higher than the norm. Almost 1/3 of their employees ARE UNIONIZED. Obviously, this is MUCH higher than Private Sector Unionization in the U.S. which currently is only a little over 10%!

    I would STRONGLY SUGGEST (I'm sure this will fall on deaf ears) you do a little research prior to making such bizarre statements!!! But, you've obviously bought the Far Left's propaganda hook, line and sinker and consequently it's hopeless to try and reason with someone such as yourself!!!!!

  • PMQ

    Bye Bye Tricky Nicky....we hardly knew ya!

  • Big Deal

    Most people in the 3rd district realize that Rahall brings millions home to his district every week. If you think by throwing Jenkins in that seat it will drastically change southern WV, well, you're right. Things could get really depressing! You can count on the money to stop flowing home.

  • Dave

    Yeah, let's get rid of Rahall, Obama and the EPA ! Then maybe we can have more contaminated drinking water and be totally free to spill whatever , whenever !

    • Eric

      Dave? Really. How melodramtic. But that's what dems are about..no solutions, just emotions. EPA: Everything that is Problematic with America.

  • cutty77

    I don't like Jenkins,because i don't like Turn coats. But Nick is the worse of the 2. I think Nick is done.38 years is long enough for any job.Time for a Guy that has New Lies.lol

  • DP

    It's apparent Nicky J. sees the writing on the wall! When politicians from either side of the aisle vote the straight party line vs. what is best for those who elected them, this is the consequence. NJR has been an Obama FLUNKIE at the expense of those he was elected to represent in WV's Third District!!!

  • Slipaway

    I'd prefer a candidate that's financed by the Koch brothers (American Made) than one that's financed by George Soros (foreign born socialist) to the tune of $650,000. Don't believe it? Check out OpenSecrets.com.

    • joe smithers

      Where did the Koch brothers get their billions? Their dad made it in RUSSIA and they want to make the U.S. like RUSSIA. No unions, no social security no environmential protection, and no defense budget.

      • Eric

        Joe Smithers, your lack of information and credibility painfully shows why this state remains near the bottom of bucket. You can thank your democrats for NO Social Security and NO defense budget. Stealing it out of the "lockbox".. EPA: Everything that is Potenally wrong with America.

  • Aaron

    The constituents Congressman Rahall represents is down ~2.4% since 2000 and is down ~6.4% since he was first elected. If you drill those numbers down to just the coalfields, an area which has elected him continuously for almost 4 decades, the voters are down ~3.6% since 2000 and down ~10.21% since his initial election.

    Given that the number of voters are down and those that remain are in direct conflict with the Congressman's voting record, it is easy to see why he would consider retiring. I am sure that he's done some internal polling and his numbers are telling him what most would guess and that is he's on the short end of the numbers right now among southern WV voters.

    He should have retired as he's going out in defeat.

  • MAR

    Jenkins will do anything to win. He cant be trusted by either party. Watchin him switch parties is like watching two kids on a seasaw.

  • docbegone

    Its sweeter to defeat him and let it be the voters' choice than for him quit on his own. Defeat sends a message to other liberals and the "Leadership?" that support him in D.C.

  • DWL

    Watching the corrupt Rahall name go down in flames! He'll owe it all to his liberal leftist views and a m0r0n in DC. He should have retired, but instead he will leave just like the true failure he is.