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The Herald-Dispatch: Rahall remains the best choice to represent state’s 3rd District

— *** Newspaper Endorsements 2014 ***—

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Herald-Dispatch has endorsed Nick Rahall for Congress 18 times over the past four decades.

The newspaper also has endorsed Evan Jenkins several times in his campaigns for the state legislature.

Now, the two are facing off in a high-stakes 3rd District congressional race that has drawn national attention, attracted millions in out-of-state campaign spending and produced a steady stream of attack ads from both sides.

It is a tough choice, because both Rahall and Jenkins are very capable and advocate for many of the same things.  Although both campaigns have attempted to paint their opponent as beholding to outside national interests, we think both candidates have shown independence in the past and will be able to stand up for our region’s interests.

However, Rahall’s service, experience and seniority in Congress must be considered. The 3rd District and West Virginia may need it now more than ever.

In 2010, before the death of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the Mountain State’s federal delegation had a total of 146 years of seniority.  Without Rahall, the 2015 delegation would have eight — four from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and four from 1st District U.S. Rep. David McKinley, assuming McKinley wins in November.

If re-elected, Rahall would be the fourth most senior person in the House of Representatives. In recent years his work in Washington has been vital to a host of critical projects in the area, from Pullman Square in downtown Huntington to the Heartland Corridor project in Prichard.  As the ranking member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rahall has championed much-needed projects such as the King Coal Highway and worked to ensure funding to maintain the locks and dams along the Ohio River.

Although millions have been spent trying to portray Rahall as “anti-coal,” the charges just don’t ring true. Throughout his career, Rahall has supported the industry, and in recent years that has meant challenging the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on regulations that limit permits and threaten coal-fired power plants.  But the congressman also has worked to balance the interests of mine workers and make their dangerous jobs as safe as possible.

Rahall has served this region well for 38 years, and we think he is still the best choice for the 3rd District.

Follow The Herald-Dispatch’s endorsements and news coverage at http://www.herald-dispatch.com/

Editor’s Note: The West Virginia Press Association is compiling political endorsements offered by its member newspapers to give readers a statewide view. For more endorsements, visit https://wvpress.wpengine.com/opinion/endorsementweek2014/

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