2014 Election Preview: West Virginia

The Mountain State has a couple House seats that are competitive this cycle. And if the Republicans want to take control of the Senate, the open seat in West Virginia is a must win for them.


With incumbent Jay Rockefeller (D) retiring after serving 5 terms in the United States Senate Republicans have a golden opportunity to pick-up a seat in what was once a Democratic stronghold. They have a strong candidate in Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, an experienced campaigner with popular statewide appeal and no significant opposition within the party. She’ll be up against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is popular in her own right and unlike Capito has actually won a statewide election. And while West Virginia ranks 49th in its approval of President Obama, Democrats still dominate the state legislature and hold all but one of the statewide elected offices. However, the era of Democratic supremacy may be coming to an end as polls show that Capito leads Tennant by double digits. For now , it looks like West Virginia may elect its first Republican Senator since 1956. This race is Likely Republican.


WV-2: With Rep. Capito running for the Senate, this is an open seat that the GOP should be able to hold onto. The GOP primary field is wide open at the moment, though there is some slight controversy over the candidacy of Alex Mooney, who served in the Maryland House of Delegates and has been branded by some as a “carpetbagger.” The Democrats seem certain to nominate former West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey. While Casey’s not a no-name by any means, this race is still Likely Republican.

WV-3: Rep. Nick Rahall (D) is the lone surviving West Virginia Democrat in the United States House of Representatives, though he may not be after this election. With President Obama being deeply unpopular in the state and a formidable opponent in Evan Jenkins, a Democrat turned Republican State Senator, this may be the year the House GOP gets a clean sweep in the West Virginia. Right now, this race is a Toss-Up.


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