First District still ‘likely’ Republican

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A political prognosticator has moved the Congressional race in West Virginia’s First District from “safe GOP” to “likely Republican” following the entry of longtime state Auditor Glen Gainer, a Democrat, into the race.

Kyle Kondik, the managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said he still thinks the race is Republican Congressman David McKinley’s to lose, even with a potential challenge from Gainer.

“This is still a district where Mitt Romney won more than 60 percent of the vote and, of course, even though the Democratic Party is strong at the state level in West Virginia, I still think this is a pretty heavy lift for the Democrats,” said Kondik.

“But it’s certainly more competitive today than it was a couple of days ago.”

Gainer officially announced his Congressional campaign during stops, on Friday, in Clarksburg and Wheeling.  The Parkersburg resident has served as state auditor for more than 20 years and had been considering the possibility of a run for the U.S. House for several months.

In his announcement, Gainer cited the October shutdown of the federal government as one of the reasons for his entry into the race.

“The games that are going on in Washington, placing political agendas above the welfare of the people of this country and this state, particularly the First Congressional District, it’s time that the games stop,” Gainer told MetroNews.

Kondik said he does not know if the shutdown will still be an issue, though, by the time of the 2014 General Election next November.  “The question is, does that actually last?”

McKinley is seeking his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives next year.

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