Today is an important day in West Virginia in the campaign to see who will replace retiring Senator Jay Rockefeller.  Republican front-runner Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant each brings a big name backer to West Virginia to campaign on her behalf.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) joins Capito for a business roundtable in Charleston, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) will campaign in the eastern panhandle for Tennant.  These are big name surrogates who bring gravitas, but also baggage to the campaigns.

Warren is a liberal with populist appeal, due in part to her criticism of Wall Street and calls for financial reform.   As Kevin Cirilli wrote in The Hill, “While most political watchers view Warren as more liberal than Obama, she is considered a high-profile liberal fundraiser.  And Warren’s trip to West Virginia on Monday will likely highlight Capito’s financial record. Capito’s No. 2 career contributor is Citigroup, second only to Powell Construction.”

However, Warren’s liberalism is a soft spot that Capito supporters want to exploit.  The National Republican Senatorial Committee charges that Warren’s agenda is counter to the interests of West Virginians.  For example, she supports the EPA’s anti-coal rules and backs a carbon tax.

“We know enough to know that reducing carbon pollution from power plant emissions will make a real difference in the fight against climate change,” Warren said on the Senate floor after the EPA revealed its plan to cut emissions by 30 percent.

Congressman Paul Ryan’s visit to West Virginia highlights what the Capito campaign calls “President Obama’s job-killing policies,” as well as the country’s fiscal problems.  Capito supported the Ryan budget proposal that would balance the budget by cutting federal spending by $5 trillion over ten years and revamping social programs.

But that budget (which passed the House on a strictly partisan vote 219-205 with 12 Republicans voting against it, including Rep. David McKinley from West Virginia) is a lightning rod.

In Senate races in Louisiana and Kentucky, the Democratic candidates are using their Republican opponents’ support of the Ryan budget against them.  Tennant and her supporters have that same opportunity in West Virginia.  Ryan’s proposal to alter Medicare by subsidizing individuals so they can buy their own insurance opens him, and anyone who voted for the budget, to criticism that he’s privatizing Medicare.

High-profile surrogates do influence campaigns.  They serve as ideological billboards that spark discussion and debate about critical issues.

We often say that we want our politicians to be independent voices, but we also know that politics and policy making are about alliances.  Candidates are judged not only on who they are and what they believe, but also who they associate with.

Today’s visits by Ryan and Warren will not necessarily alter November’s outcome between Capito and Tennant, but it does give voters another piece of information to help them make their decisions.

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  • PMQ

    Does anyone else find it strange, that our fabulous Senator(tongue in cheek), BloJoe Manchin is not out campaigning for Natalie Tennant. She has to import a liberal nut job in from Massachusetts?? Guess BloJoe is doing what he always does, shuck and jive.

  • Patchy

    If Liz Warren is a populist then I'm a Victoria's Secret catwalk model.

    She's another champagne socialist from Taxachusetts. Let us not forget she pioneered the confiscationist 'You didn't build that!' credo before Obama embarrassed himself with it.

    'Financial reform' should be immediately quarantined in the Euphemism Hall Of Shame. Government cannot reform. It cannot equalize. It cannot deliver 'fairness.' It can merely tax i.e. take by force.

    But if Warren's fund-raising prowess means more suckers part with their cash supporting Tennant's no-hoper campaign then by all means let her take up a long residence in the Eastern Panhandle!

  • poca guy

    She may as well have brought Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. She knows she has no chance in this election.

  • Gary

    Tennant has shown her true side by bringing Warren to WV. We don.t need another Obama puppet in Washington like Rockefeller.

  • Dave

    Warren holds two positions that make her anti West Virginia. She believes that coal should be removed from use and that guns are for the privileged. West Virginia doesn't need to elect a Senator that will help Obama. He is screwing us badly without any help.

  • Phil's Phriend

    Everybody has their opinion, but few ever talk facts. Everyone knows Tennant and Capito are different sides of the same coin. Wall Street will shower them both with cash. Only Phil Hudok can help the citizens retain their freedom. If you truly love God, guns, and coal, you'll vote Phil Hudok for United States Senate.

    • Jason412

      From Hudock's site

      "He (Phil Hudock) and a handful of others petitioned the Department of Motor Vehicles to remove their photos from drivers licenses, saying they violated their religious beliefs because digitized photos contain "the mark of the beast"

      That's what WV needs,

      • Silas Lynch

        Well there are wacko's all over... Look at Hop'sHip-- he believes Jesus wants our government to abort our own children and import the children from Central America--- Isn't that right Hip's, isn't that what you believe "Jesus would do"?

        • Hop'sHip

          Wrong again, Silas. I want the pregnant woman to make her own healthcare and family planning decisions in consultation with those SHE chooses and I want the Central American children to be treated according to law and to be protected from screaming nativists. I don't know what Jesus would do.

      • Hop'sHip

        I encourage all who support real conservative values to vote for Hudok. He is the real deal.

        • Silas Lynch

          The left has you and the right has this Phil dude--- The two of you are the "Yin-Yang" of the political spectrum.

          • Hop'sHip

            And the right also has you, Silas. How else would we be aware of the dangers of "the browning of America" and the "invasion of the diseased aliens?"

          • Jason412

            Phil Huddock and Hop'sHip for President/Vice President in 2016!

            From the NY Times

            "The team of Huddock (R) and Hop'sHip (D) may seem to some as a political stunt, but in a recent interview Hop'sHip, a WV liberal, addressed just one issue the administration will be facing "I had only suggested that kids (immigrants) not be greeted with screams and rumors of them being diseased." Huddock, a lifelong maniac you certainly wouldn't want living in your neighborhood, was quick to respond "Have you seen my car keys?" After 45 minutes of searching, and still unable to find his car keys, Huddock terminated the interview but Hop'sHip had one final statement "I pay my taxes." And so continues the political duo sure to take this country by storm in 2016."

            Too much time on my hands today. But am I the only one that finds it odd/hypocritical Phil Huddock is against photo ID's due to religious beliefs, but has owned a photo/video company since 1972?

        • Aaron the sociopath

          As a means of manipulating the public for my dastardly deeds, I don't suppose you could clarify exactly what "real conservative values" are, can you hop hip the lair?

          • Aaron

            "Do you ask people who take "pro-life" positions how much of their own funds they are willing to pay for the medical care due to the greater number of neonates that will result?"

            Yes, as a matter of fact I do.

          • Aaron

            The president is requesting $2 billion to deal with it. That seems to be a lot of expense to me.

            I have no problem with Taxes. My problem is with how we waste money and the fact that we spend more than we collect.

          • Hop'sHip

            Remember that I had only suggested that kids not be greeted with screams and rumors of them being diseased. I don't think that involves a lot of expense. I pay my taxes. Maybe not as much as you pay but it is a significant amount to me. But I do it because it is an obligation as a citizen and we don't get to choose to withhold taxes for things we don't agree with. I didn't complain when Reagan administration was using money to interfere with these same countries where these kids are coming from. Do you ask people who take "pro-life" positions how much of their own funds they are willing to pay for the medical care due to the greater number of neonates that will result?

          • Aaron

            No sir, I know my s--t stinks and while my first comment was along those lines, the question regarding a liberal doing something on their own instead of expecting
            The government to complete the task with tax dollars is a legitimate point. Taxes is another aspect of that type of hypocrisy as all liberals can pay higher rates should they choose but none ever do.

            Why do you suppose that is?

          • Hop'sHip

            And oh by the way, if you felt that was a fair inquiry you made that prompted my two choices reply, then we definitely live in different worlds. It was an admittedly cheeky reply to what I felt was an absurd question. You really do believe that your s--t don't stink. I admit mine does.

          • Hop'sHip

            Prior to that sir you attributed a comment to me that I did not make. I never mentioned citizenship. You just assumed that is what I was calling for. I simply corrected you and did not call you a liar. Since you first referred to "my side" and what I had originally taken a position that these kids did not deserve to be screamed at, I wrongly assumed you were on the other side who believe that such behavior was warranted. For that instead of just correcting me , you chose to call me as a liar. I admit to being out of line with the "sociopath" description. I am obviously not qualified to make such a judgment. I also need to remember that we so-called "liberals" need to have thicker skins here. It reminds me of Bill O'Reilly who calls people "pin heads" but then rails against the " character assassins" at Media. Matters who merely provide the recording of him calling someone a "pin head."

          • Aaron

            You credited comment to me sir that I did not make. You have done that on 3 occasions. I pointed out the lie. If that means I called you a liar, so be it.

            As to the rest of your comments, I have called for none of that and to be honest, I know many conservatives who would say that while they have called for reduction in taxes and reasonable regulations, your comments depicting their viewpoints are to the extreme.

            That seems to be a tactic you employ often and while I respect your opinion and would welcome a healthy debate on the topics discussed, you seem more interested in one-upping those of whom you are in conversations.

            The perfect example is when in response to my queary regarding your personal involvement in providing for immigrants, you stated, and I quote...

            "Well given my age I guess I am not really in position to take any of them in and given that I must continue to work beyond normal retirement age would seem to indicate that I don't have a lot of resources to give to them either. So I guess you win and I should go scream in their terrified faces and spread rumors of them being disease carriers. I guess those are the two choices."

            Clearly you know those aren't the two choices but instead of having an conversation, you chose the comment above. As I said, it is a tactic you employ often to which I wonder, why?

          • Hop'sHip the lair

            I've been called a lot of things here, but you are the first to call me a lair. I take those who post here to be truthful when they call themselves true conservatives and what they usually promote seems to be what Mr.Hudok advocate. He essentially wants to eliminate all taxes and all spending except for military hardware and personnel. He wants to get rid of all those federal department that Gov. Perry remembered or forgot. He seems to think all government regulation should end. If you agree with many here that all those federal programs foisted on the country since FDR are unconstitutional and should be repealed, he would seem to be your candidate.

      • Jason412

        Hit enter to soon

        That should've said "That's what WV needs, sounds worse than the other 2"

  • FungoJoe

    Tennant brings in a radical, ultra-liberal, very anti-coal, repressive Progressive to campaign. The real Natalie Tennant has stood up and shown her true colors. Tennant doesn't have the guts to bring Warren to Charleston to campaign. The protesters would number into the hundreds.

  • DP

    Ryan is one of the few in Washington who even remotely makes a serious attempt at budgetary reform. The POTUS and his Far Left Lemmings (and sadly, some Repubs) are spending money at a clip that would be an embarrassment to ALL drunk sailors who have ever sailed the high seas!!!

    The light at the end of the tunnel is a very fast moving train coming right at us and the crash is going to be devastating!!!

    Elizabeth Warren-seems impossible, but she's even to the left of the POTUS! NT is obviously getting desperate!!!

    JMR-Please be sure and read my advice to you in the headline story in todays Metro News. I am just trying to help you!!!

    • stophating

      Let's end the military-industrial complex, and go back to the pre WWII standing arming of about 100k or less..... Who needs soldiers when you have precision bombs---and a nuclear arsenal second to none.....

      Want the budget balanced---cut military spending dramatically!!!!!

      Why did Clinton have a budgetary surplus? The Vietnam war was paid off during his presidency... Wars are what is driving the budget up--- what costs more--a single mom on welfare that gets about 20K per year or one precision guided bunker buster bomb?

      • Shadow

        Have you ever looked at what is going on in the Middle East? Israel isn't the one that is always shooting rockets at Gaza. Doing away with their Military and they would just be blood in the sand. Do away with our Military and we would be praising Allah?

        • Jason412


          I don't think he was suggesting completely doing away with the military. If we want to continue to patrol the world, while making little to no difference in those societies which we patrol, then by all means we should keep the military at the same size as it is now.

          But if we want to protect the US, and bring most of, if not almost all, of our resources home, we could do it with a military a hell of a lot smaller than what we currently have.

          Palestine and Israel is a completely different situation, A terrorist group couldn't sit at home in Afghanistan (or wherever) and fire rockets at the US, but in the Israel conflict no one has to leave the safety of their own country to fire rockets.

  • mntnman

    I am more interested in Capito and Tennant and what they will do if elected than who they bring in to raise money. I am more interested in who will take a long hard look at the Senate dysfunction and work across the aisle, as opposed to more ideologs and failure to work toward solutions. What I am listening for is smart, thoughtful, intelligent solutions -- not sound bits.

    Of course, I am no foolish enough to believe I will get that from either candidate. Both will do what politicians do in elections -- harp on how bad the other one is, and tell us that they are for jobs, growth and us. (I call that the I am against war and for peace mantra.)

    I doubt we will get much in the way of substance. At least to date, I have heard none. I have grown cynical and doubtful about most who run for office and what they say to the public, as opposed to what they plan on doing. First, they are but one and even good intentions run up against reality. Second, they pander too much to everyone -- it is impossible to give everyone everything they want. Finally, I just find that they tell too many fibs to get elected.

    I grow more concerned about our country as time passes. Same ole faces, saying the same ole crap, with the media playing the part of guilty co-conspirator. I hope someone, somewhere can do something about this mess; I am not hopeful.

    On the brighter side, I am four days away from vacation, so I can get away from all this nonsense and enjoy my family.

    • GregG

      I'm with you mntnman, I'm not hopeful either. I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.........although I'm sure some would say there is no light because of the "war on coal".

  • mamasita

    Native son Chris Stirewalt is discussing this very subject over at Pick Six.

    "Warren’s agenda is counter to the interests of West Virginians. For example, she supports the EPA’s anti-coal rules and backs a carbon tax. ‘We know enough to know that reducing carbon pollution from power plant emissions will make a real difference in the fight against climate change,’ Warren said on the Senate floor after the EPA revealed its plan to cut emissions by 30 percent.”

    Again, what can the Tennant campaign be thinking?

  • Mike

    The quickest way to tell a politician is lying is their lips are moving. Republicans are disjointed and accomplish nothing while Democrats often propose solutions that endanger national sovereignty and security. What a choice we have in upcoming elections. These 2 choices have combined to decimate the middle class.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Mike, I wish there was a "None of the Above" box on our ballot rather than choosing not to vote.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Your commentary is a great start to an informed electorate, Mr. Kercheval.

    Another great read.

  • JMR

    This comments section is usually filled up with comments from old, bitter, right-wing cranks who are poorly educated, Fox News fed fools. We're talking old, bitter white men with nothing to do except post hateful comments on this website and wait to die. So I'm not surprised to see such libelous comments about Senator Warren on here this morning. Shelley Moore-Crapito is an absolute disgrace to West Virginia. She does not represent working West Virginians, but rather, Crapito represents the filthy rich fat cats on Wall Street and supports the middle class destroying economic policies of the failed vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan. Sec. Tennant is a good and decent West Virginian who grew up as the daughter of a farmer and who understands hard work. She cares about this state and its people. Not a bunch of millionaires on Wall Street. Speaking of Wall Street, Elizabeth Warren knows the dirty games that are played there. Sen. Warren understands the trials and travails of working American families, and it's wonderful that she is coming to West Virginia to support Sec. Tennant. There is an old, ugly, bitter remnant that wants Ms. Moore-Crapito to win this November's election purely out of spite towards the Democratic party and without concern for what's best for West Virginia. Don't let these poisonous people win. Vote from your heart and you will realize that Sec. Tennant, along with great people such as Sen. Warren, are who are best to support and defend hard working West Virginians. Remember, Capito is Crap-ito!

    • ViennaGuy

      - She cares about this state and its people. Not a bunch of millionaires on Wall Street. -

      She also doesn't hesitate to take money from groups funded by George Soros, one of those Wall Street millionaires(actually, billionaires) that you find so distasteful.

      Oops, was I supposed to say that?

      • stophating

        Soros is very similar to Buffett--he disagrees with the fact that he pays a lower percentage of taxes than his secretary---

        So there is a difference, a HUGE difference between Soros and the likes of the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove.... I'm not going to say that Soros gives a damn about the working class, but at least he doesn't object to paying his share of taxes!

    • Silas Lynch

      Well JMR, I guess we are to infer that you are the pinnacle of the "goodest education"

    • Wowbagger

      So you support Faux-ahontas aka Elizabeth Warren, who lied about her minority status to get an appointment at Harvard Law School.

      At 65 (considerably older than I, for example) Faux-ahontas is a bitter old white woman whose education initiatives are mostly directed at increasing the pool of funding so colleges and universities can increase the capacity of students to borrow further inflating the cost of higher education for the middle class while pretending to be a populist.

      I am more American Indian than Warren as I have driven both a Navajo and a Cherokee and once spent the night in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

      Her new buddy Nats Tennant is a rising West Virginia Democrat political hack, who doesn't really expect to win this one, but is really angling to run for Governor in 2016 when Faux-ahontas plans to run for President. I predict Nats' association with Faux-ahontas will not serve her well in West Virginia.

    • mntr bob

      JMR, as opposed to your insightful comments. Elizabeth Warren is interested in a redistribution of wealth much like Obama, attacking the wealthy, which she is a part of, even though she likes to pretend she is not and imo would continue to drive corporations out of America with tax increases.

      • stophating

        So expecting corporations to pay their fair shares of taxes is redistribution of wealth? Bull Sh(*!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        The middle class has carried this country on its backs since 1981--and I for one am tired of it!!!! Millionaires and billionaires should be taxed on earnings like those that bust their a$$ each day working are taxed

    • The bookman

      I love how you criticize the level of intelligence of those here, yet the best you can muster is to cut and paste a comment from a previous story that drew no interest, and provide us with an ingenious Crapito not Capito mantra. Thanks for the substance that we have come to expect from your posts, sir.

  • notorious

    All four of them are snakes and liars. Just like every other politician in this country.

    • CaptainQ

      And your point is?

    • Jason412

      +1 Best post of the day.

  • mamasita

    Warren? Really? What are they thinking?
    She's to the left of Obama.
    This is sooo not our father's Democratic party.
    Seems like this is something that can be used against Tennant for years to come - as in 2016, which I though was the point of this likely doomed campaign.