GOP making gains in West Virginia

A column by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News Register

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Rep. Shelley Capito ought to be pleased there hasn’t been much attention paid to her Senate race by national pollsters.

They are something like the press, after all. They like good story lines – i.e., conflict – and there really isn’t much of it in the West Virginia Senate race.

Why? Because Capito, R-W.Va., is so far ahead of her Democrat rival, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. The last national poll on the race, by Rasmussen Reports, was conducted on Feb. 19-20. Asking likely voters their preference, pollsters found 50 percent favored Capito, to just 36 percent for Tennant.

Candidates have to be optimists, so Tennant may well be looking with hope at the 12 percent who said they were undecided (4 percent didn’t like either of them). But even if she picks up all of the undecideds, Tennant still loses.

And she will. All politics may be local, it has been said. Not this time around. The fall congressional elections will be a clear referendum on President Barack Obama, with special attention to Obamacare and the economy. Because this is a U.S. Senate race, that makes sense. Voters will be choosing either a Democrat they hope will support the president or a Republican to do battle with him.

Guess which is the preference in the Mountain State…

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