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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  • 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 ...