HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Huntington High School seniors welcomed the three candidates vying for West Virginia’s 3rd District congressional seat during a question-and-answer forum Wednesday.

Incumbent U.S. Rep Nick Rahall and his challenger in next month’s Democratic primary, political newcomer Richard Ojeda, joined Democrat-turned-Republican state Senator Evan Jenkins in trading jabs and giving positions on the issues.

The League of Women Voters helped sponsor the event, which organizers stressed was not a debate. In fact, the rules of the forum allowed the candidates only to answer questions from students and not respond to each other. That was quickly tested.

Jenkins took the first swipe at  Rahall when answering a question on global warming.

“Just last year our congressman voted for a carbon tax. He voted for the progressive budget that had a carbon tax all driven by this idea of our carbon footprint,” said Jenkins.

Ojeda quickly followed suit.

“Somebody needs to start addressing these issues and start taking care of these people,” Ojeda, of Logan County, said. “Somebody desperately needs to start standing up for the people of West Virginia.”

Rahall got in his first shot.

“You know Martha, I knew I was going to be ganged up on during this question and answer period. I hate to see the rules violated this early on as they already have been by both of my opponents,” said the congressman.

From coal to the federal budget to gun control the students fired off questions at the candidates, who had two minutes to respond to each.

Ojeda was answering a question about water quality and slammed Rahall in the process.

“Has anyone here heard of the town of Bud in Wyoming County? They went literally almost 7 months without water. The town of Bud in Wyoming County is literally neighbored up to Raleigh County, which is the home county of somebody sitting at this desk,” stressed Ojeda

Rahall minced no words in calling out Jenkins on a question involving the water crisis.

“Interesting Mr. Jenkins just said we should take it all into consideration, yet he blasted us for having hearings [in Congress] on the chemical spill,” said Rahall.

During a question about the state’s coal industry,Jenkins attacked Rahall’s record.

“While some talk about being a friend of the coal industry, they are up there in Washington voting for a carbon tax that would kill it,” claimed Jenkins.

The seniors Civics class and the Advanced Placement Government class at Huntington High have held a number of candidate forums in recent years.

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  • Larry Logan county vet

    Guys y'all don't know Ojeda that well, yea he talks a good game and has been involved with us a little while but some of us wonder about his true intentions. He likes the spotlight and showboats a bunch here but as a guy told me if you want to help someone why do you wait to go get a news crew to do it? No Major you ain't got all of us yet, still need to prove your real and what you can do politically. It's not going to be pretty on the house floor you blowing up and getting loud thinking you can order folks around. Can you act calm? Can you deal with someone telling you no? I'm thinking no.

  • Larry

    Ojeda seems ok, but got really hyper in his answers acts like most officers do, self righteous, loud talk too much a Staff officer type, but He's OK. However is he able to deal with someone telling him the truth or blowing him off, can he communicate with all Americans or just the military folks. I'm a Marine vet so I get what he's saying but my friends think he's a bit too far in the outfield and unstable. Jenkins is a traitor To his friends and party so you can't trust that guy he also is over educated and like Rahall failed to serve their country in the military, opting to do what's best for themselves. Selfish is a fair term for both.

    Rahall we all know what to expect..Choices a Hyper Cocky former Army officer, A Traitor or good old boy Nick Joe?????

    Flip a damn coin you loose anyway.

  • Just in Time

    Looks like the Republicans got one Democrat to trade over to Republican and a Republican to roll over to Democrat. One to drain and push Rahall in the primary and the other to take the gold in the general. It's clear the GOP has money on both his opponents but we know their golden child truly is Jenkins, Ojeda gets used to soak up votes in the primary while Jenkins gets the glory, smart move I do wonder what would happen if Ojeda beat Rahall? Would he gracefully bow out or would he run hard against Jenkins?

  • Just in Time

    Looks the Republicans got two candidates to run against Rahall. One to drain him a little in the primary and the other to put him out in the general.

  • Amy Toney


  • WV Grad

    Out with the old, in with the new.

  • Lynn

    I was highly impressed with Major Ojeda. I do think it is time for fresh blood, the old has stained too much of WV.

  • Independent View

    Gary Karstens
    Can you add any meaning dialogue rather than always resorting to YEEEEESH?

  • DP

    Gary Karstens-If you drink much more of the Ultra Left Democratic Kool-Aid, I'm ABSOLUTELY SURE your brain is going to explode!!! If you are so inclined to OD on something, at least give beer, wine, whiskey, tequila or ANYTHING else a chance! Maybe then, you might (and I stress might) begin thinking SOMEWHAT RATIONALLY!!!!!

  • Independent View

    Gary Karstens
    To quote one of the many people that you detest, Ronald regan--"There you go again!"
    To make such an unfounded comment that the Metro News article is not fair and balanced is absurd and you offer no facts other than you disagree with their article! To further state that if you want fair and balanced news you will consult the Gazette? Sure you will, Left-Wing Nuts read Lefty Newspapers because you share the same myopic view and they pander to the progressives and Lefties. Your a real piece of work. You critize Metro News yet, you post and post and post on it. Somewhat hypocritical!

    • Aaron

      When I see people like this posting, I assume the intent is to argue and cause discourse. In the numerous post from this individual, I've yet to see anything other than a anecdotal comments that have no substance. The best thing you can do is ignore him.

  • The bookman

    These things usually play out just the way they did today, only the incumbent is never there to endure it. Rahall's appearance in Huntington is proof he knows he may be in trouble. I still think this is closer than most think, but Rahall feels the pressure.

    • Aaron

      When this race started, I figured it was a 2 man race between the incompetent incumbent and the johnny come lately. Imagine what would happen if conservative dollars were spent in the primary?

      • The bookman

        Just look what the party had to do to field a candidate in a very vulnerable seat. Bill Cole would have destroyed Rahall, but I think he is looking to the Governor's seat in 2016. There just isn't a lot of willing candidates in the 3rd in the Republican side, but after this election, that might start to change. So many Dinos south of 64.

        • Aaron

          That's because in that part of the state, regardless of what your political leanings are, you're a registered Democrat as that's where the labor money historically went to, thus to be anything other than a Democrat was tantamount to losing an election.

          • The bookman

            Well it's not been that long ago that it was like that in most of the state. The state is so conservative at its base. I look forward to Southern WV's big coming out party in the near future!

  • Dumb Luck

    Get ya pitch forks ready...we gonna have us a lynching!

    You people are nuts. You act like WVs shortcomings are all because of our politicians.

    WVians have much to be proud of, but WE hold ourselves back more than any politicians ever have.