One of the more intriguing questions this election cycle in West Virginia is how the makeup of the state House of Delegates will change.  Democrats have held the majority for over 80 years, but Republicans have been gaining ground.

Republicans picked up seven seats in 2010 and 11 more in 2012, narrowing the gap to 54-46.  The GOP picked up another seat the following year when Ohio County Democratic Delegate Ryan Ferns switched to the Republican Party.

During this year’s campaign, the Republican Party is pushing to finally move into the majority, while the Democratic Party is desperately trying to hold on to the advantage.

Going into tomorrow’s election for the 100 seats in 67 districts, the Republicans have 43 incumbents on the ballots, while Democrats have 41.  There are 16 open seats, ten of them currently held by Democrats and six by Republicans, who either didn’t run again or lost in the Primary Election.

Here are a few of the more interesting House races to keep an eye on tomorrow that may decide which party will be in charge in 2015:

–District 1 (Brooke, Hancock.  Current make-up: Two Democrats) Democrats are worried they could lose a seat here, possibly to Republican Patrick McGeehan, who is trying to return to the House after failing in his bid to win a state Senate seat.

–District 2 (Brooke, Ohio. Current make-up: One Democrat).  The Democrats believe incumbent Phillip Diserio is safe. However the GOP is high on Ryan Weld, especially since Diserio won the 2012 election by just 270 votes.

–District 12 (Jackson.  Current make-up:  One Republican) Republican incumbent Steve Westfall beat his Democratic opponent by just 300 votes in 2012.  This year, Westfall’s challenge comes from Democrat Mike Bright. The former Jackson County Sheriff ran competitively for the Senate in 2012.

–District 16 (Cabell, Lincoln. Current make-up: Two Democrats, One Republican) Long-time Democratic House member Kevin Craig didn’t run again and the GOP hopes to pick up a seat.

–District 17 (Cabell, Wayne. Current make-up: Two Democrats). If Republicans hope to take the House, they’re going to have to pull off upsets someplace. Democrats see incumbents Dale Stephens and Doug Reynolds as safe, but the GOP thinks Matthew Rohrbach, a medical doctor, has a shot.

–District 23 (Boone. Current make-up: One Republican).  Republican incumbent Josh Nelson is defending his seat in a heavily Democratic district.  Nelson has taken some heat for missing the 2014 legislative session because of his military service and could be vulnerable to Democratic challenger Barry Brown.

–District 35 (Kanawha. Current make-up: Three Republicans, One Democrat) Democratic Party leaders believe they can pick up a seat here after Republican incumbent Suzette Raines decided late to pull out of the race.

–District 36 (Kanawha. Current make-up: Three Democrats).  Democratic incumbent Mark Hunt lost in the Primary, but well-know former Democratic Senator Larry Rowe may fill that spot.  The GOP is banking on Brad White to break up this Democratic stronghold.

–District 42 (Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers. Current make-up: Two Republicans). Democrats believe they can pick up a seat here with Coy Flowers, who through Oct. 26th had raised $160,000 and spent $86,000.

–District 47 (Barbour, Tucker.  Current make-up: One Democrat) Long-time Democratic Delegate and Education Committee Chair Mary Poling is not running again.  Republican Danny Wagner, a retired teacher and coach, is facing Tammy Stemple, the Philippi City Clerk.  If there is a Republican wave this election, the GOP could pick up a seat in a district that went heavily for Romney in 2012.

–District 48 (Harrison.  Current make-up: Three Democrats, One Republican).  Republican Danny Hamrick snatched a seat in 2012 in House Speaker Tim Miley’s home district.  The Democratic Party is pushing hard to get that seat back this year.

–District 49 (Taylor, Marion, Monongalia. Current make-up: One Democrat).  Democratic incumbent Mike Manypenny won by just 400 votes in 2012 in a district where Republicans tend to run strong. The GOP believes challenger Amy Summers can win the seat.

–District 50 (Marion. Current make-up: Three Democrats).  This is a historic Democratic stronghold with incumbents Mike Caputo, Tim Manchin and Linda Longstreth all seeking re-election. Republicans, however, have refused to give up here, pushing Phil Mallow and running ads against Manchin.

–District 61 (Berkeley. Current make-up: One Democrat) What would a House of Delegates election be without Democrat Jason Barrett and Republican Walter Duke running against each other? Duke beat Barrett by 600 votes in 2010, but then Barrett beat Duke by 300 votes in 2012.  Enough said.

–District 65 (Jefferson.  Current make-up: One Democrat).  Democrat Tiffany Lawrence is fending off a challenge from Jill Upson, an African-American Republican.  The national Republican political action committee—GOPAC—has put over $20,000 in the race for Upson, who lost to Lawrence two years ago by just 300 votes.  But Lawrence had spent nearly $50,000 as of last week.

With just a six seat difference in the 100 member House, and the inevitability of several close races, we may wake up Wednesday morning and still not know which party has control.

 

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Comments

  • dr dng

    Hoppy did not discuss District 3 & 4. I don't think the down state republicans are expecting it but the democrats will pick up 1 and maybe 2 seats here. Could be just enough for them to hold the house.

  • Wowbagger

    Time out for a late Halloween political message from the West Virginia Democratic party and their surrogates:

    Awowww...


    Koch, Koch, Koch, the Koch Brothers are everywhere and out to destroy civilization as we know it!

    Boo!

  • David L. Woods

    Had you read a few months back in the Hagerstown HERALD-MAIL (which goes to WV & PA as well as MD) their best columnist Tim Rowland who wrote: "West Virginians will learn like Marylanders, that Alex X. Mooney stands for Alex X. Mooney."

    • dangerousdaneerfan

      If Casey loses, he will have no one to blame except for Natalie Twit.

  • David L. Woods

    If the Repubicans lose by 2 house seats, never forget our local GOP leaders who gave up a sure two-prior term seat with Larry Kump for a 17- (now 18-) year-old wanna be like daddy --one-term State Senator Craig Blair.

    Almost as stupid as backing a lifetime-dedicated "Home Schooler" for the House where Alex X. Mooney can help plan & budget for the public schools he hates! Now that's progress!

  • mntnman

    Dems hold the house and senate in WV. My unscientific prediction based on nothing more than a reasonably educated guess.

    Republicans take the US Senate 52-48, only to lose it again in two years. House majority grows by 8-10. Boehner can't manage them any better, the Senate remains gridlocked, and the US remains ungovernable.

  • Hop'sHip

    Wake me up when this election is over. But of course that will only mean that Hoppy and friends will be talking about 2016.

    • The bookman

      Really! Worn out with it. When I wake up Wednesday, will I get the harmless pink bunny suit or the Red Rider BB Gun? Sure, I want the gun. But then, what will I do with it? I hope the compass in the stock points me in the right direction.

      The bunny suit is safer, but I think we are getting the gun. Hope we don't shoot our eye out.

      • Hop'sHip

        My guess, this being West Virginia, that I'll get a lump of coal. That's OK. I need a new friend.

      • Frank/Moundsville

        Outstanding post, dude. Merry Xmas

  • Jeremy Bauserman

    Keep an eye out for a close race in District 43. Former Elkins City Councilman Charles Kinnison is from Pocahontas County and his father served on the Pocahontas County Board of Education for 8 years. If he compiles the numbers of 2006 and 2010 Republican nominee Joan Sharp in Randolph and wins Pocahontas County by 300 to 500 votes it will be too close to call between Kinnison and current Delegate Bill Hartman.

  • JTC

    Maybe it would be okay if the republicans controlled the legislature for two years, after they show there inability to govern and low concern for the work force in WV they will fade away into the sunset. Plus it will be entertaining to watch these nut jobs in action.

    • Mac

      Spoken like a true-blue, grouchy, pompous and uneducated Dumb-o-crat hiding in fear that the Republican party WILL "steal" the legislature. The WV legislature has held an iron grip on this state where we are 50th in education, but 1st in guns, alcohol and drugs. And don't forget the "thousands of jobs the "Dumb's" have been promised, yet, we never got. JTC, you made yourself easy to spot because you've forgotten the basics in English writing: #1: Capitalize proper nouns, and #2, learn the difference between "there" and "their"! As for watching "nut jobs in action," - uh, haven't we seen that long enough?

    • Mac

      Spoken like a true-blue, grouchy, pompous and uneducated Dumb-o-crat hiding in fear that the Republican party WILL "steal" the legislature. The WV legislature has held an iron grip on this state where we are 50th in education, 49th in health care facilities, but 1st in Guns, Alcohol and drugs. And don't forget the "thousands of jobs the "Dumb's" that have been promised but never got. JTC, you made yourself easy to spot because you've forgotten the basics in English writing: #1: Capitalize proper nouns, and #2, learn the difference between "there" and "their"! As for watching "nut jobs in action," - uh, haven't we done that long enough?

    • WheelingFeelin

      Yea because for the last 80+ years Demoncraps have really outshined and made this state #1 in all rankings. Oops time I wake up. The only #1 we are in is obesity rates. Wow what a claim to fame we have.

  • wvu999

    This was the year if Republicans wanted a chance. Sorry Bill Cole it isn't going to happen. After this election your golden ticket of Obama can't be played anymore and you have no campaign of your own to run on. Nice try though

    Maybe the Palin's will invite you all over for a losers barbecue????

  • CB

    Hoppy, you need to get Larry Puccio on your show today and have him explain his Godfather-esque letter he sent to voters. It is clearly an act of voter intimidation.

  • really?

    42nd District: $160,000 in contributions for a job that pays $20,000? Most of his contributions came from his homosexual activists/friends in San Francisco, New York and Washington DC- even Rockefeller and Manchin held fundraisers for him. All of this to push his homosexual agenda and organization Fairness West Virginia. This law for force pastors to marry homosexuals or face jail time or fines.........

    • Jason412

      really?,

      Only $160,000? If we're talking out of state money, while not a WV House race, take a look at Capito's $7 million in campaign contributions this cycle.

      Oh well, at least the majority of her top donors are Wall Street companies, they are notorious for doing what's best for West Virginian's.

    • wvu999

      Yeah let's talk out of state money.... Koch brothers. Republicans like their money but want to complain about out of state money

      Come on man

    • Bill Hill

      Same in the 55th district. The Democratic Candidate, Issac Sponaugle, has received $48,325.00 in contributions of which $9,800 came from individuals who are out of state. Some of the states include California, Virginia, North Dakota, New York, and Connecticut. It certainly makes one wonder or it should anyways.

    • Bob

      Haters hate. It's so sad

  • Wowbagger

    Joe Manchin and his stooge Larry Puccio argue that we need Democrats in every office to maintain the sort of glorius prosperity that West Virginia has enjoyed for the last 82 years!

    A few more Republicans in the mix could just cause West Virginia's carefully balanced crony capitalist system favoring trial lawyers and local politicos to implode.

  • CaptainQ

    Thanks Hoppy!

    Glad you commented on the WV House races. Fair is fair, you did break down the WV Senate races last week.

    The bottom line of election day is this. It's literally 'now or never' for the state GOP. They'll never get a better opportunity to take control of the House and Senate. If the Republicans can't win majorities in either chamber THIS election day, they never will.

  • proudlyconservative

    I believe the delegate's name is "Caputo," Hoppy. Freudian slip?

  • Jim N Charleston

    Skippy,

    Democrats Bad!!!!
    Republicans Bad!!!, but after 80 + years of Democrats, what the F#$%, I'll give them a try.

    All I got
    I'm Jim N So Charleston
    L8

    • Aaron

      My district was not mentioned. The 13th has two Republicans and two Democrats running for 2 seats. One of the Republicans is a young mayor out of Ravenswood who boasted of doing much in that city. Research indicated that his claims were selective at.. When I questioned him about what he would do with infrastructure he could come up with nothing of substance.

      Hs only response was "no new taxes" because he had just taken the "I'm an idiot and cannot think for myself Grover Norquist pledge." One conversation on Facebook convinced me that this young man is not qualified to serve in our legislature. I would rather vote for no one then him because of party affiliation.

      • Stephanie Butcher

        Aaron, you NEVER spoke to Michael Ihle. You were asking me to ask him questions like we're all in the 4th grade. I'm not a child and Mayor Ihle isn't a child, apparently the jury is still out on you.

        The truth is you sell concrete and cement products for a living. The truth is you think you're more likely to get BIG government contracts with the liberals in control.

        If you have questions for Mike you should call or email him. If you want to speak to him all you needed to do is ask, he'll speak to any resident of the 13th. He has been out pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, and showing up at events across the district for months.

        • Aaron

          I do wonder Stephanie, when I attempted to speak to you about infrastructure needs last week in your role as a volunteer leader in the Republican Party, you claimed you did not have time to respond as you were seeing to the needs of sick uncle. It is nice to see that when called upon, you have time to respond to defend unqualified candidates with inaccurate information.

        • Aaron

          Read my comments again Stephanie, I never said I spoke with him directly. I stated it was on Facebook and he responded with one message and refused to answer any other questions despite the numerous questions posed to him.

      • Tim

        I couldn't disagree more with Aaron. Mr. Ihle personally visited me at my home and we discussed several things. He said that he supports the plan on Tomblin's desk to finish route 35. He also said that by cutting back on excessive regulation, there will be more tax payers to fund our roads. That makes sense to me because it is possible to get more money without raising tax rates. Raising taxes is a lazy politician's solution so I was relieved such a young man appears to grasp this.

        I have also looked into Mr. Ihle's service as a mayor. It appears like he deals with a lot of old folks who don't like change. Honestly it sounds like despite his age he already has experience dealing with the same kinds of crazies that exist in Charleston. I am an independent, but I was proud to vote for him and only him for delegate.

        • Aaron

          There is no bill on the Governors desk to finish Route 35 and if the young man said there was, he is demonstrating his lack of knowledge on the issue. While PPP's are law, the highway has not been let, there have been no bids and once there are, they will not require the Governors signature.

          I also heard the spill about excessive regulation. The West Virginia legislature cannot stop the US EPA or any other federal agency.

          The young man is spouting populist tripe that ill informed voters fall for. When I pushed him for specifics, he ran like a scalded dog.

          He's not qualified to anything but follow. I prefer leaders.

          • Aaron

            As to your comments Tim, Public/Private Partnerships are law. The only thing that is keeping them from being utilized is that the state has not let the projects. Once they decide to let the project, 2 to 3 companies will submit bids to finance the road and complete the project. How that creates a conflict between large and small contractors is beyond me but perhaps you can explain it.

            Also, I hardly see how pointing out that Mr. Ihle is spouting populist tripe is name calling although I would submit that civility is in the eye of the beholder. It has been my experience that when you tell the truth about someone the accusation of incivility often follows.

          • Aaron

            By posting this link Stephanie you validate your ignorance on the subject that Tim shares with you. Apparently, young Mr. Ihle shares it as well if he states he supports legislation on the governors desk that would allow the completion of Route 35.

            Public Private Partnerships were signed into law last year (I believe although I'm not sure of the exact day they were signed) they are current law and in fact one project was put out for bid under that EXISTING law. What they do is allow the contractor to finance construction of a project instead of forcing the government to come up with the money up front.

            If you research comments on this site, you will find that I have questioned the wisdom of using such measures to finance projects as I believe this method eliminates numerous companies from the competitive bidding process because they simply do not have the financial wherewithal to finance these massive projects.

            If this method is utilized to finance Route 35, it will add an additional $75 to 100 million to the price tag over what was previously estimated to complete the project and likely only draw 2 to 3 bids due to the ability to finance the project. To put it in terms that even you can understand, there simply are not very man construction companies with the ability to finance projects of this magnitude.

            When I posed these questions and concerns to Mr. Ihle on your facebook page, he failed to respond to any of the comments. His only response to my repeated comments of how we address address our massive infrastructure needs and upgrades was to eliminate Davis Beacon wage laws. That's it. That was his one bright idea.

            I've read his material, including his pledge to Grover Norquiest and as I told you then, he is not a leader, nor does he have a record to stand on. His claims to eliminating debt in Ravenswood demonstrate that. As I tried to explain to you but apparently the concept was too much, the town of Ravenswood has a weak Mayor, strong council government. In that type of government, the mayoral position is largely ceremonial in that the person holding the title of Mayor can not hire or fire department heads and has no veto power over council action. As department heads make the majority of daily decision and council approves budgets and spending, for the young man to claim he and he alone eliminated debt in Ravenswood is a misnomer at best. His big plans that I could find were to bring a distillery to Ravenswood. Hardly the stuff of leaders which is likely why he was up for a vote of no confidence from the council.

            I know you Stephanie and understand why you support him. You're actually one of the better party soldiers because even though you often fail to grasp the concepts and principals of what the subject matter, you regurgitate the party line with the best of them. That might be good enough for you, bit it is not for me.

          • Stephanie Butcher

            http://wvmetronews.com/2014/08/27/renewed-optimism-for-route-35/

          • Tim

            Actually, he discussed the fight between the large and small contractors' interests that have prevented the plan from being implemented and said to expect some news on the road some time shortly after the election. Sounded like he knew just what he was talking about.

            This name-calling and lack of civility is why more people don't vote.

    • Shinnston Guy

      If both parties are bad (I don't disagree), instead of just going back-and-forth giving each a try, why not vote for a third party candidate and independent? The only way to change the D's and R's is to change the status quo. Otherwise, it will be more of the same just with a different slant. Cheers.