CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time since 1932, the number of registered Democrats in the Mountain State has fallen below 50 percent and Conrad Lucas, chairman of the state Republican Party, is calling the drop “the latest achievement for conservative West Virginians.”

“This is a really historic day for our state and our party,” Lucas said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “Mathematically, it is impossible for a Democrat to win now in West Virginia — statewide — with only Democrat votes and that’s historic.”

According to numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office, out of all of West Virginia’s 1,226,745 registered voters as of June 30, a total of 49.9 percent were registered as Democrats (612,228 people), 28.8 percent as Republicans (353,106) and 19 percent (233,075 people) have no party affiliation. Registrations for both the Mountain Party (1,502) and Libertarian Party (1665) are around .1 percent.

The numbers reflect a trend for the state Democratic Party. In 1994, 65 percent of registered voters in West Virginia were Democrats. That number dropped to 54 percent in 2004 and 52 percent in 2012. The latest numbers showed further decline.

Those who are opting not to register as Democrats, though, are not registering as Republicans instead. In 1994, 30 percent of registered voters in West Virginia were Republicans. That number was 30 percent in 2004 and 29 percent in 2012.

“Folks aren’t leaving the Republican Party. They’re leaving the Democratic Party,” Lucas said of those numbers. “As we see new folks register, there is certainly a trend to be more independent, that’s where the real growth here has occurred, but it’s taking away from the Democrats’ voter registration advantage. We haven’t been hurt at all.”

West Virginia Democratic Party Chariman Larry Puccio downplayed the decline.

“The fact is Democrats still outnumber Republican voters nearly 2:1 – we’ll gladly take those odds, and will carry them to victory in November,” Puccio said in a news release. “The numbers show that Democrats will continue to lead in registration, and in the very near future, Independents will overtake Republicans. This trend means continuous victory for Democrats, as we saw in the last election, in 2012, when Democrats won 67% of all races across the state. The Democratic ticket from top to bottom this year is incredibly strong and has the support of Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans alike.”

Currently, one in five registered West Virginia voters is independent and claims no party affiliation.

Kanawha County has the largest number of registered voters. Of the 135,917 total number of voters there, 68,307 are registered Democrats and 38,092 are registered Republicans. In terms of registered voters, the next largest county is Berkeley County with 67,576 people registered to vote. Of those, 22,427 are Democrats, 24,141 are Republicans and 20,446 have no party affiliation.

As of June 30, there are more Republicans than Democrats in the following counties: Doddridge, Grant, Jackson, Mineral, Preston, Putnam, Morgan, Ritchie, Tyler, Upshur and Wood.

Voters with no party affiliation outnumber Republicans in Jefferson County and McDowell County.

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  • NotARepublican

    As a graduate degree holding 27 year old teacher, I cannot see any reason whatsoever to vote for someone who holds Republican values. I have voted in every election since I was 18 and have voted Democratic every single time. My father is a strong union man and has always voted Democratic. My mother flip flopped back and forth and voted for Regan, Bush, Clinton, and then Baby Bush, has vowed to never vote Republican again after seeing the dramatic shift in Republican extremist values. She's voted for Obama the past two elections. The party has moved too far right, and has created so much gridlock in government that has rendered it useless. The Republican party only cares about the super wealthy and corporations. I think the problem with WV Republicans is they're either too attached to religion or they "think" they're rich because they're making 100k a year. The wealthy are making tens of millions a year, and getting kickbacks from their bought politicians.

  • tomas

    I'm one of those Independents from Putnam County. And I rarely ever vote for the crazy lunatic nut Republicans. Thank you very much.

  • Bill

    An independent is nothing more than a democrat that is ashamed of it.

  • winston

    where can I get a platform for the independent party.

    • Aaron

      You must look inward.

  • Mburg

    I do not understand the title of this article? From reading the article I gleaned that the number of registered Republicans alos fell during the same time period also fell from 30% to 29 %. Not really sure what the big deal is. At the end of the day registered Dems outnumber Rep by a wide margin. I am not from West Virginia originally and as far as I am concerned, the WV Dem are undercover Rep anyway. They might as well switch to the Rep and show their true colors. If your are KKK with sheets on or KKK with suits what's the difference? (just an analogy and not meant to disparage any of the two parties).

    • Chuck

      I totally agree. They should just turn red. This is a very conservative state and their votes should reflect who they really are.

  • Mountain Navy

    Well the democrats can thank Obama for the destruction of the democratic party in this state. The war on coal which Tennant plans waging war with Obama on will even divide the party more.

  • Aaron

    I have been a registered independent for years. In my humble opinion, the extreme of each party has wrestled control of their respective party and neither represent the core values of the majority of Americans.

    • Hillboy

      I really think that has a lot to do with how effectively both parties have gerrymandered congressional districts to produce the maximum number of safe seats for their party. The by-product of rigging safe seats is the occasional seat that is sacrificed to the other party. (For example, Michelle Bachman's seat in Mn is a sacrifice seat to gain additional safe seats for the Dems.) The result is that representatives are more and more frequently being chosen by the base of either one party or the other during the primaries, which drives representation from the middle to the edges of the parties. estimates that for the 435 House seats up for election in 2014, more than 80% of them are safe seats. Less than 6% are toss-ups. Voters are not choosing their representatives, the parties are choosing their voters. It's not good government.

    • Chuck

      I think there is a strategy with that. They don't have to deal with difficult mainstream issues like the Economy and Infrastructure. Both parties focusing on grudge issues (God,Guns and Gays) alienates most of the general population. This way they only have to win the votes of a few fringe groups.

    • sammy


    • wow


    • Mitch

      @ Aaron,

      Well said.

  • Brian

    Obama's too soft on foreign policy and has weakened our standing througout out the world. most nations cannot be trusted and USA safety and sovereignty is priority ONE...period!....heres another quote from another not so smart man....."Cant we all just get along"......NO DUMBASS

  • Brian

    Im a registered Independent. and due to whats been going on in DC the last 8 yrs. and how the EPA and the other Obama appointees have totally destroyed the hardworking peoples lives in WV. im voting a straight ticket (R) this fall. and will not vote for 1 incumbent. politicians on both sides of the isle only work for their agendas, not the states that vote them in. "Term limits for all-8 years"

    • Sick&tired


  • Cynara

    What we really need is a viable moderate third party!

    BTW, I just needed to change my address on my registration, and in the process was also one of the folks who went from D to I.

    • Aaron

      Until you change the way the Electoral College is counted you will not see a viable 3rd party as too many Presidential elections would be thrown to the House of Representatives.

      My suggestion is that instead of awarding a candidate all of a states electoral votes if he wins the state, either do like Maine and Nebraska and allocate electoral votes proportionately or award 2 electoral votes for the winner of the state and then award the candidate 1 electoral vote for each congressional district they win.

      I like the 2nd option because it puts large states in which metropolitan areas dominate the state back in play and keeps each candidate from starting with "X" amount of electoral votes.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    I have left both parties. I doubt that they miss me, but I am over that.

    Hacks on both sides of the aisle share the blame for voter apathy. They're all in it for the money, plain and simple. It doesn't matter a tinker's darn whether there's a "D" or an "R" after a name.

    I still have opinions even though I no longer vote. At least you can't blame me for whomever wins. After voting in EVERY election since '72, I realize it is a wasted effort but a nice day off.

    • Silas Lynch

      Nice day off? I've never gotten an election day off...

    • wow

      you don't vote, so you can neither complain or take blame for what happens. You are so brave.

    • contrarian

      "Don't vote, it only encourages them. " - Old anarchist proverb.

  • Tony

    In your paragraph above that lists counties that have more republicans than democrats, you left out Berkeley which you state in the preceding paragraph has more republicans than democrats. You left Berkeley off the list. Are there others that are left off?

  • CaptainQ

    I think you've missed the main reason for the change in voter registration and this involves primary elections. In the past, independents were permitted to vote in the GOP primaries, but NOT the Democrat primaries. This meant that since (at the time) most counties were dominated by Democrats, if a voter really wanted to have their vote heard in the primaries, you had to register as a Democrat. All that changed in 2007 when the WV Democrats agreed to allow those of 'no party affiliation' the option to vote in their primary too. THAT'S when you saw a real drop in Democrat Party registrations and a big rise in Independents/No Party ones.

    Bottom line, that's the #1 factor steering registrations away from the Democrats and more towards Independents. Watch and see if the WV Dems move quickly to 'close' their primaries back up again to once more FORCE voters to register Democrat if they want to have a say in their primaries.

  • Marcuscassius

    Folks aren't leaving the Republican Party. They're dieing, in droves. The average age of Republicans is 67 and getting older. These are stagnant people that are easily scared by GOP scare tactics. But, as I say, they are dieing off. Republicans are an example of how extinction works.

    • Mitch

      @ Marcuscassius,

      ...says the poster who can't even spell "dying". Don't tell me....let me guess. You're a product of our wonderful unionized liberal education system.

    • arp

      "Dieing?" Where did you learn to spell? And from where did you pull your false statistic?

      • Dumb Liberals

        Marcuscassius learned to spell from a unionized NEA teacher. Those union teachers are the ones who put education last and perversion first! (predators with a sheepskin)

        • NotARepublican

          Seek help.. please...

    • CaptainQ

      And isn't it interesting that many of those 'dead' people somehow find a way to vote straight Democratic Party ballots in our Southern counties year after year? Bet if you counted all those 'graveyard' voters, the Democrat registration would still be above 50%.

      • wow

        very good post

  • Roger

    Maybe there is hope yet, is it possible that people are tired of the party first politics and are deciding to think for themselves as independents rather than fall in line with there "party"?

    Side Note: Republicans, if you think this a great news for you your wrong. People will leave your side just as quickly as they are leaving the Dems. People are tired of the stupidity on both sides and are actually going Independent. Good for the ones who already have gone independent.

    • Marcuscassius

      Unfortunately your tax dollars only support preliminary elections for these two party's. You pay for these elections but you aren't allowed to participate if you are an Independent. Talk about a rigged game!

      • Aaron

        Independents have the best of both worlds as they can choose the primary they wish to vote in.

      • arp

        Independents can vote in the Republican primary.