Post election notes

Some Primary Election observations:

–Patrick Morrisey stayed steady. Various polling indicated the Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate had the support of around 30 to 35 percent of likely voters and none of the other candidates was able to cut into that base.    Morrisey, who lives in Jefferson County, was particularly strong in the Eastern Panhandle, where his vote total was greater than the other five candidates combined.

–Governor Jim Justice’s support throughout the campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate was also unwavering.   Justice consistently polled in the mid to upper sixties, while Rep. Alex Mooney was in the twenties. Justice won with 61 percent of the vote, compared with 27 percent for Mooney.

–Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mac Warner challenged the most recent MetroNews West Virginia Poll, which showed him with 10 percent. Warner, who waged a strong grassroots campaign with an appeal to fellow veterans, finished a distant fourth, but he did outperform the poll with 16 percent of the vote.

–The final MetroNews West Virginia Poll was on the money on the top two finishers in the race for the Republican nomination for Governor. Our poll had Morrisey at 32 percent; he finished with 33 percent.  The poll had Moore Capito at 24 percent, and he finished with 28 percent. The poll’s margin of error was 4.9 percentage points.

–Admittedly, our poll missed badly on the race for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Our final poll had J.B. McCuskey and Mike Stuart in a dead heat, with a large block of undecided voters. McCuskey ended up winning by a two-to-one margin. Internally, we debated whether to even poll the race or release those results because of all the undecided voters. If I had a do over, I would have thrown the results in the trash or just not tried to poll the race. I’ll know better next time.

–The surprise of night was Senate President Craig Blair’s 1,500 vote loss to Tom Willis in the 15th Senatorial District (Berkeley, Hampshire, Morgan). Thus begins the Senate Republican caucus internal debate over who should succeed him. The Senate Presidency is a powerful and prestigious position since that individual also serves as the state’s Lieutenant Governor, who is next in the line of succession if the sitting Governor is unable to serve.

–Expect abortion to be an issue in the General Election. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Steve Williams and U.S. Senate nominee Glenn Elliott both say they will campaign on letting West Virginia voters decide what the state’s abortion law should be.   Current West Virginia law prohibits abortions except in rare circumstances.

–A convicted felon who was part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and spent three months in jail received over 38,000 votes from West Virginia Republicans and independents. Derrick Evans, who billed himself as a “political prisoner,” still lost to incumbent Republican Representative Carol Miller (63 percent to 37 percent) in the 1st Congressional District.

–Don Blankenship’s foray into a statewide race as a Democrat did not go well. The former Massey Energy CEO and longtime Republican, who spent time in prison for a misdemeanor conviction for violating mine safety standards, received just 18 percent of the vote in the race for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.

–West Virginia’s county clerks and their staffs, as well as the hundreds of poll workers, deserve credit for a job well done Tuesday. All 55 counties had final results by midnight Tuesday, just four-and-a-half hours after the polls closed.


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