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.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • 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.

  • DWM

    Who is running the Tennant campaign? Once it is determined they should be fired. I realize that the moderate democrats have gone the way of the spotted owl, but do they have to bring in the ultra liberal Massachusettes senator?

    Natalie Tennant is going to have a hard time passing herself off as a moderate democrat when the big hitter she brings in is on the far left fringe of her party.

    • JMR

      And Crapito should be admired for bringing a right-wing extremist like Paul Ryan to West Virginia who devised a budget plan that would SEVERELY harm working West Virginians, the elderly, and the poor??? Since when did West Virginians cross over from conservative to right-wing extremist? This is WEST VIRGINIA. NOT South Carolina. Shelley is risking a lot by bringing a Social Security destroying, Medicare gutting extremist like Ryan to West Virginia. MUCH more than by bringing a common sense populist like Elizabeth Warren to the Mountain State.

      • Joe

        Stay off the coolaid. The Ryan budget will SAVE Medicare and Social Security which will HELP West Virginia seniors and the working people of WV. Stop reading the left wing talking points and look at the facts.

        • Jason412

          There's nothing quite like telling someone "Stay off the koolaid" "stop reading talking points and look at the facts" and somehow managing to squeeze talking points, with no facts, from the other side in between the other two sentences.

          • Aaron

            I agree. The Ryan Budget does not go nearly far enough.

      • FungoJoe

        Are you wearing your aluminum foil hat?? You must be like Hillary and her "vast right-wing conspiracies"? I am very astute, I have yet to see a right-wing conspiracy in WV, or the nation for that matter.
        The enemy to the American middle class is the VAST liberal left-wing conspiracy, i.e. the Demoncratic National Committee, Media Matters, etc.

  • jay zoom

    should be a three-ring circus in the Capito circle with every issue being discussed except what will benefit the country. At least Tennant has an Idea where to start. From what I've seen Capito has no clue.

  • TD

    These two candidates are the perfect representatives of the direction each party sees for the country. Warren is a stalwart supporter of the middle class, putting safe guards on Wall Street, reducing the debt of student loans, pro worker policies. Paul Ryan sees the world through the prism that is the conservative mind, deregulate wall street, more tax breaks for the wealthy, etc... His proposals that would bring us back to a balanced budget is a fairy tales at best, all based on the wonders that will happen when we cut spending dramatically.

    My guess is if you put each of their top five proposals on a blank sheet WV's would overwhelmingly support Warren's positions over Ryan's, but that's not the way it works as WV's will vote for Capito and against their own best interest.

    Just like a guy I know who complained to me that his union pension was being reduced, I pointed out he had voted Republican for the past 30 years and their policies have so weakened the unions they were having to make some major changes. He doesn't see the connection and sadly neither do most WV's.

    • mntr bob

      TD, the student loan legislation imo attempts to redistrbute wealth while not attacking the root problem of costs, much like the ACA. Warren's earlier attempt to tie student loan interest to the rate banks paid at the discount window was nothing but smoke, however, many on the left thought it was great.

      • TD

        Every tax is a "redistribution of wealth" according to the right. The fact is all the great things accomplished in this country from the late 1930's through the 1970's were done without going into too much debt because we taxed the hell out of the rich. The top rate was 76% when Kennedy cut it to 70% in the early 60's. It had been as high as 95% during the war and shortly after. This nation achieved greatness and built the strongest middle class in history with those high tax rates on the rich.

        The only way we'll ever balance the budget and achieve greatness again is if we return to some of those policies, even the mention of returning to Clinton rates has the right wing setting its hair on fire.

        If you're honest with yourself, that's the only way to save the country.

        • mntr bob

          TD, I believe in 1945 the % of non payers was around 10%, as opposed to what it is today. Taxing the rich is a very simplistic approach, imo many republicans would object less to tax increases if spending were reduced creating a combination that could decrease our deficits.

        • Joe

          What are you smoking TD? The rich already pay 95% of the taxes. They way to build a great country again is to create jobs and get people off the government teet!

          • Aaron

            Consider the question rhetorical as I don't expect you to answer!!!

          • Aaron

            Which age, Reagan's or FDR's has the US facing a $100,000,000,000,000 (that's trillion for the zero impaired) UNFUNDED liability?

          • TD

            the top 20% own 89% of the wealth in our country, an all time high since the 1920's. CEO pay has grown 127 times faster than worker pay over the past 30 years.

            I am not an ideologue, I used to be Republican. What I see is the best time for our country was the pre Reagan financial method. WE were able to fight WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, build Interstate Hwy system have GI Bill, Apollo program, affordable college, etc...

            All of that happened without going into much debt and the country was much better off for it.

            The age of FDR ran from '33 to '80, the age of Reagan has been '81 to present. You decide which worked better, that's how I base my conclusion. Not on propaganda or theories. Under FDR the middle class exploded and the country grew strong, under Reagan the middle class shrank and we're in debt that may destroy us. I told evreyone I knew if "W" was elected it would mean a return to deficits and boy was I ever right.

        • Aaron

          Research spending, particularly as a percentage of GDP and compare it to today for both discretionary and non-discretionary spending.

          As to the Climton tax rates, I fully support returning to those levels if spending is also returned to those years.

          What say you?

    • Aaron

      Why don't you put each of their top 5 proposals out there?

      I agree Ryan's budget is questionable as he doesn't go far enough on entitlement reform and he completely ignores defense spending. In reality, we need to reduce spending by a pretty significant amount across the board to go along with some modest revenue increases to balance out budget as that has to be our priority, agreed!!!

    • The bookman

      The government can't mandate a thriving economy. Business and industry must achieve it on their own. You are right in that they present two stark directions in this country, one that is sustainable and one that isn't.

      • JMR

        The Ryan-Crapito budget would be the death knell for working Americans. We see what has happened when we give the filthy rich and Wall Street EVERYTHING that they want. The greatest income inequality since the Gilded Age! The Ryan-Crapito budget would just explode this horrible phenomenon to record inequality while causing untold suffering for elderly people whose Social Security would be destroyed, whose Medicare would be voucher-ized, and for the poor who are trying just to survive.

        • The bookman

          Isn't the responsible thing of restoring solvency to our budget and entitlement programs more important than the politically expedient choice of kicking the can further down the road? Ryan is courageous in his proposal, and as Aaron states, doesn't go far enough. But it is a first, and necessary, step in the right direction.

        • Aaron

          You do realize the Wall Street Bailout was authored and passed by Democrats and that Wall Street has donated billions to Democratic candidates including President Obama in both 08 and 12, don't you?

          As to the Ryan Budget, how will it destroy social security? And as Medicare goes, why can that not be rolled into the Affordable Care Act? It seems to me that if it is good enough for those under 65, it should world for those over 65, don't you agree!!!

  • tim haering

    lightning, not lightening

    • Hoppy Kercheval

      Corrected. Thanks!


  • Silas Lynch

    Oh great, we get to choose between a liberal republican and a progressive democrat.

    Wonder if the press will ask Nat about gun control or Shelly about Abortion?

    • WV Bird

      What makes Capito a liberal republican?

  • Mason County Contrarian

    As a former voter it would be refreshing for politicians to have a reasoned, civil discussion of the issues rather than acting like children arguing over a toy.

    Who knows? Perhaps more of us would see the point of voting once again.

    • Shadow

      If you are a "former" voter as you say, I would say you have no aspirations or goals either. Although you maybe a Ghost.

    • Dave

      My Grandfather always told me "If you don't vote you can't bitch."

    • Silas Lynch

      This from someone who likely sat down everyday and watched Phil Donahue, Jerry Springer or Maury Povich -- Sorry, nothing personal but the societal culture you desire is long gone and destroyed by our own making.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        Thank you for unknowingly supporting my point, Mr. Lynch.

        Respectfully, your use of deductive reasoning has led you to an inaccurate conclusion regarding my (assuming daytime) media viewing habits. Those who work have to be very selective with our home viewing time because it cuts into our time spent reading.

        To my point: this is the very thing that has turned many like myself voters away from fulfilling their constitutional duty. Rather than state a position or having a substantive discussion of the issues and then sell it to the electorate, spectrum politicians prefer to attack the opposition with innuendo and baseless accusations
        that drive many informed voters like myself away. I would prefer, as Lincoln said, "the better angels of our nature"-in short don't waste my time telling me how bad the other candidate is-tell me why you (the opposing candidate) should receive my vote.

        In the last analysis, our chosen words speak for each of us.

        Choose wisely.

        • Silas Lynch

          I unknowingly supported your point? Nothing gets by you.....

  • CaptainQ

    Well Hoppy, it's rather puzzling that both the Dems and GOP would choose to send, in your words, heavy hitters with 'baggage' to the Mountain State to 'help' their respective U.S. Senate candidates. Elizabeth Warren? Paul Ryan? Really?

    If the Dems wanted to REALLY help Tennant's image, why not send Bill or Hilliary Clinton here? Both are still rather popular in WV (God knows why). And Paul Ryan only serves as a lightning rod of criticism to add to Capito's woes. George W. Bush won this state twice in Presidential campaigns, why not send him instead since the Obama Administration has FINALLY ran out of things to 'blame him' for? Even former GOP Presidential candidate John McCain would make a better choice than Ryan, as long as he keeps Sarah Palin away.

    Bottom line, both political parties could've sent better 'cheerleaders' to West Virginia for fundraising, but in the end, the one person who will be pivotal in this Senate race won't be going anywhere near this state and that person is President Obama. Tennant somehow has to find a way to separate herself from his 'shadow' or she won't stand a chance against Capito. Good luck with that, Natalie!

  • Aaron

    If these two individuals spark conversation, then by all means, bring them back as the two have polar opposite views on how to govern. Ryan preaches a conservative spending approach that recognizes the truth regarding our national debt while Warren favors an approach that would see the government increase cradle to grave care.

    The two leaders are a microcosm of the direction the country is headed but instead of talking facts, we have become a nation of scare tactics and sound bites as each side chooses to denigrate the other instead of responding in a manner that will address our financial crisis.

    Currently the US spends around $4 TRILLION annually while only bringing in around $3 TRILLION which has us facing a $20 TRILLION national debt that is simply unsustainable. If changes are not made, the US will go bankrupt as the number one spending item will soon be interest on our debt.

    Instead of having that conversation though, we will hear how one leader is willing to sacrifice grandma and grandpa while the other is leading us down the road to socialism and in the end, we just keep spending more and more money we don't have.

  • Joe

    Why is my comment being moderated?!

  • Joe

    Hoppy....perhaps you should ask Sen. Manchin to address this article from today as he is quite outspoken about corporate fair share.

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. generic drugmaker Mylan Inc is in advanced talks to acquire a multibillion-dollar portfolio of established products from Abbott Laboratories, people familiar with the matter said.

    The proposed transaction, which is in late-stage discussions, would see Mylan acquire a big chunk of Abbott's Europe-based mature drugs for several billion dollars, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter is not public.

    The acquisition of the foreign assets, according to some of the people, could also allow the U.S. company to change its tax address to overseas, a practice known as inversion that has become popular among healthcare companies seeking to cut their tax bills and gain access to cash held offshore.

    The exact value of Mylan's bid could not be learned, but people familiar with the matter previously told Reuters that Abbott was looking to sell a portfolio of mature drugs that could fetch more than $5 billion.

    A deal could come as soon as next week, but the discussions are continuing and could still fall apart, the people cautioned.

    Abbott’s established pharmaceuticals division is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland and had 2013 sales of roughly $5 billion. About half of the sales come from emerging markets, and the remainder from other international markets.

    Representatives for Mylan declined to comment, while Abbott did not respond to requests for comment.

    A potential deal with Abbott would come after Mylan's failed attempt to buy Swedish drugmaker Meda AB earlier this year. Meda in April rejected Mylan's revised $6.7 billion takeover bid, saying its biggest shareholder did not back a deal.

    Mylan was looking to do an inversion deal partly because it was at a disadvantage compared with foreign rivals as well as other U.S. generic drugmakers that have redomiciled to a low-tax country.

    Major competitors include Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, which is based in Israel, and Actavis Plc, which re-domiciled to Ireland through a 2013 acquisition of Warner Chilcott. Both face lower tax rates.

    Tax inversions allow U.S. companies, which face one of the highest tax rates in the world - a federal tax rate of 35 percent, and an overall rate that can be close to 40 percent, including state and local taxes - to move to a lower-tax country by buying or creating a new holding company.

    The deal would add to a flurry of dealmaking in the healthcare sector, which more than tripled to $317.4 billion in the first half of 2014 from the same period last year.

    Reuters first reported in May that Abbott has tapped Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for the off-patent drugs so that it can free up resources to invest in high-growth areas.

    Other large pharmaceutical companies including GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Sanofi SA and Merck & Co Inc are also looking to shed older drugs, many of which have lost patent protection and face shrinking sales.

    Faced with healthcare spending cuts and generic competition, the pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a major restructuring, with companies playing to their strengths by building up certain businesses and divesting others.

    (Reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Gunna Dickson and Diane Craft)

  • Ron- from Morgantown

    Obviously- for both candidates- this is about fund raising and not about getting out the vote . Neither surrogate will be back for the very reasons suggested by HK. Come Oct the candidates will be looking to bring in a surrogate to rally the base and to get out the vote . That's exactly what Pres. Clinton did to help Sen Joe get elected a few years ago . I remember the visit to Morgantown by Pres. Clinton. The crowd went crazy when Mr. Clinton said it " wouldn't be fair to West Va if JR got elected to the Senate because Fla would have 3 Senators and West Va would only have 1". The crowd who saw Clinton that day left motivated to vote for Joe and it helped get him elected . Neither Ryan or Warren is Bill Clinton . Few people are . I hear Clinton will be back in Oct though stumping for DEM candidates . What I find odd about the visits by the surrogates today is that both will be here on the same day . Is this just a coincidence ? And what about the locations for the visits by the surrogates ? What does this say about the strategy for both Capito and Tennant ? I know if Tennant can hold her own in the eastern panhandle she will be better positioned to be competitive . In the end neither candidate will be in control of their own message because of 3rd Party money that will pour into WVa to help distort the message in order to try to influence the election . That will be good news for West Va Radio but bad news for Democracy .

    • Aaron

      In regards to Warren, and I believe she is jockeying for a Democratic run at the Presidency in 16, I wonder if she is testing political waters in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, all of which will likely send reporters to cover her visit.

      • Ron - from Morgantown

        Not likely, Hillary is all but guaranteed to be the nominee. These visits today are nothing more than a one day event by both candidates . Its July and this will be long forgotten by Nov .

        • Aaron

          Hillary was all but guarantee that nomination and 2008. How did that work out?

          • Aaron

            I'm not nervous as I fully expect Republicsns to blow the 2016 election in the same manner they did in 2012 and I full expect a Democrat to carry us further down the road of financial ruin.

            I just know it won't be Hillary.

          • Ron - from Morgantown

            It seems like you may be worried about Hillary . You should be , because no republican can beat her . You have every reason to be nervous .

          • Aaron

            Again, 2008. In 2006 when speculation surrounded Obama and his potentially running for President, the consensus was that he was a political novice, a short term Senator with too little experience and much too liberal to stand a chance against the Clinton political machine.

            While supporters like you may very well mistakingly think she has the nomination wrapped up, I doubt she feels that way.

          • Ron - from Morgantown

            I guess politically anything is possible - but not likely . If Hillary isn't the nominee it won't be because its Warren .

    • The bookman

      Tennant needs the money that Warren brings, but I don't know what Ryan provides to Capito, other than controversy. Capito doesn't really need the money, and the race is really in hand, not even close. Why risk the high profile photo op and potential gaffe?

      On the other hand, I like Ryan and his message. Capito sounding like Ryan only emboldens my vote for her this Fall, not as though it's in jeopardy. Overall I see it as a desperate move by a desperate Tennant, and a risky move by a confident Capito.

      • Ron - from Morgantown

        I'm glad you think this race" isn't even close" . Its exactly the kind of over confidence that Tennant needs in order to pull an upset . Cantor and his supporters thought the same thing . My suggestion to Capito supporters is to stay home in Nov.- your candidate is way ahead and really doesn't need your vote .

        • The bookman

          Cantor lost to a fellow Republican in a very conservative district. I agree that setting back in an easy chair would be the wrong course, but opening yourself up to a moderate backlash by aligning yourself with a controversial polarizing figure like Ryan is risky in my view. Capito is smart, and has avoided gaffes in her career. I just hope it stays that way. She will win handily if she avoids critical errors, like Tennant's today with Warren.