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Grover Norquist talks West Virginia politics

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The founder and president of Americans For Tax Reform says 2014 could be the year West Virginia voters make a major political shift at the polls and put more Republicans in charge in both Washington, D.C. and Charleston.

Grover Norquist

“West Virginia is probably the state most out of sync between where its voters are on issues and the party affiliation of their governor and both Houses,” said Grover Norquist.

He said it’s clear to him national Democrats, lead by President Barack Obama, have largely left West Virginia.

“The modern Democratic Party has decided that the coal industry and coal workers have to be crushed.  They’ve decided that the Second Amendment is an option.  They want to raise taxes rather than reduce them,” said Norquist on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“You go down the list of things that are of importance to people from West Virginia and the modern Democratic Party is not just indifferent, but hostile.”

He cited Arkansas as a state where such a major political shift, from Democratic leadership to Republican leadership, most recently occurred.  Arkansas had been part of the “Solid South” for Democrats for generations before the change.

Mike Plante, a Democratic Party consultant, argued West Virginia’s Democrats win when the run as “West Virginia Democrats.”  He cited recent campaigns from U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in which both worked to distance themselves from President Obama and other Washington Democratic leaders, despite claims otherwise.

“In three elections, they (Republicans) have thrown President Obama (at them), they’ve done everything they can to try to tie President Obama to Senator Manchin and Governor Tomblin and those two have won because they’ve not been afraid to show where they disagree with the President and with the Administration,” said Plante.

But Norquist said that kind of delineation is getting more difficult to make.

“There are two political parties.  There are two political tendencies and to argue that you’re in the boat that’s rowing hard left, but that you say, ‘Well, my oar, I’m moving it the other way,’ you know, you’re not even slowing it down.  You’re in the wrong boat,” said Norquist.

Americans For Tax Reform is a taxpayer advocacy group formed in 1985 with the mission of limiting the size and cost of government, opposing higher taxes at the federal, state and local levels and supporting tax reforms.  The organization asks all candidates for federal and state office to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a commitment to oppose all tax increases.

The 2014 Primary Election in West Virginia is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13.

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