CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A well-known political report has shifted the expected match-up later this year between Third District Congressman Nick Rahall and Cabell County state Senator Evan Jenkins from “Toss-Up” to “Leans Republican.”

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball Managing Editor Kyle Kondik explained the move Thursday on MetroNews Talkline. Kondik said the reasons for the shift include the “news of the race” including a Jenkins poll that showed him 14 points ahead of Rahall and no real answer to that poll from Democrats.

“It’s possible that they’re also seeing not the greatest numbers for Rahall. Maybe not down a dozen points or so but maybe trailing or barely ahead,” Kondik said.

There’s also the recent report that Rahall was considering retirement and dropping out of the race, something Rahall’s office has denied. Kondik said the report nevertheless doesn’t play in Rahall’s favor.

“Those are the sorts of things that tell us he may not be feeling all that comfortable and all that confident about his race,” Kondik said.

He also said the make-up of the Third District and the overwhelming support voters gave to Mitt Romney in 2012 also makes things an uphill battle for Rahall despite winning election every two years since 1976.

Rahall has been focusing on other issues this week. News releases from his office have addressed the federal budget, the federal EPA and the King Coal Highway.

Rahall announced Wednesday he would be casting a “no” vote on the Republican budget in the U.S. House.

The Ryan budget would menacingly meddle with Medicare, increasing seniors’ costs and cutting their benefits,” Rahall said in a statement. “That budget, being forced through the House by the Republican Leadership, would hurt our seniors – no way would I vote for that. I have never seen a group so obsessed with doing away with Medicare – they’re frothing at the mouth to get their hands on it.”

Kondik said it may be very difficult for Rahall to separate himself from Obama.

“The President is just so unpopular in that district and in West Virginia as a whole that these mid-terms elections are oftentimes just a backlash against the President and the President’s party,” Kondik said.


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  • Jeff

    If people other than the elderly and welfare recipients would get out and vote, maybe Rahall's opponent would really have a chance this time.

  • Independent View

    Hmm, is this the same Nicky Joe that wrote a letter, on Congressional Office Letterhead to a Federal Judge requesting that he provide leniency for his son, convicted of Federal drug violation(s)?
    And, when Nicky Joe was called on it, his explanation was (paraphrased) "when I got ready to print the letter, obviously, I reached for the wrong stationary and it printed on Congressional Letterhead instead of my personal stationary." REALLY? When was the last time that Nicky Joe even composed a letter, let alone knew how to use a printer? Shades of Rosemary Woods' famous stretch when transcribing the Watergate Tapes for Nixon.
    The question that begs an answer is does Nicky Joe really think that folks believe that story?

  • grey4449

    Jenkins is for coal. Rahall is a rubber stamp for Obama. Lets hope people want to save their jobs and vote for JENKINS. Rahall has turned his back on the coal miner. Rahall loves Obamacare. How many people lost their medical insurance or their job or both due to Obama and his buddies like Rahall. We the people need to put a bridle on these donkeys. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO HALL RAHALL OUT OF OFFICE.

  • DP

    Gary Karstens-You are either on drugs, delusional, or both! Nicky Joe IS GONNA GO!!!!!

  • D.B.

    Those ads against Jenkins are despicable- They're borderline lies and Rahall/Nancy Pelosi know it... Rahall sold out to the Obama Administration when he voted for a carbon tax and he should pay the price for it with his congressional seat.

  • Rich

    I wouldn't vote for Jenkins if he was unopposed.

  • Doug

    My Grandmother will vote Rahall. And she has been dead for almost 20 years.

  • Aaron

    The question below wasn't only for Mr. Karstens. I would post it to anyone who supports Congressman Rahall.

    How does the congressman defend his is unwavering support for this administration and the policies of the extreme radical left, which had grasp control of the national Democratic Party?

  • bac

    I surely hope Evan Jenkins wins. The Democrats are running the dirtiest, most deceitful TV ads against him that I've ever seen in my 60 years!

  • Gary Karstens

    Rahall in a landslide....and every one knows it-Gary Karstens

    • Aaron

      How do you account for his unequivocal and unconditional support for Barack Obama?