West Virginia Archive:

Monday, May 08, 2006

WV-02: Mike Callaghan for Congress

Posted by DavidNYC

Tomorrow is primary day in West Virginia. (It's also primary day in Nebraksa. For a good run down, check out this diary.) The only federal seat in WV held by a Republican is the second congressional district, home of Shelley Capito. Her rap sheet is long, but all you really need to know is that she took over $48,000 from Tom DeLay - more than any other member of Congress.

There are three Democrats vying to challenge her, but only one of them is worthy of your support: Mike Callaghan. Mike is the former head of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Prior to that, he was a federal prosecutor. And he's also served as the chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party. In short, he's got strong experience.

He's also strong on the issues. Mike's been very aggressive on mine safety. As an Assistant US Attorney, for instance, he prosecuted phony safety instructors and closed down unsafe mines. This stands in sharp contrast to Capito, who's taken tons of money from anti-union mining companies like Peabody Energy and Arch Coal; non-union mines have more safety violations and hence more dangerous working conditions than unionized mines. The Sago mine, as you may know, was non-union.

As to Iraq, Mike is pretty blunt: He favors a "quick resolution" and a "detailed withdrawal plan." As he says, "The best way to ensure an end to this war is to elect Democrats to Congress." No joke. He's also had the courage to come out in favor of a single-payer healthcare system, which is the only reasonable solution to the healthcare crisis in this country. Undoubtedly, the GOP will trot out its ancient, overheated "Harry & Louise" rhetoric to tar Mike, but I think he's more than tough enough to withstand any assault.

Mike is flanked by sherrifs and their deputies in that picture, and I gotta say, for a guy in a suit, he doesn't look out of place one bit. Oh, and those sherrifs did indeed endorse Mike, sending Capito ("But I got you all this Homeland Security money!") into a tizzy. Sherrifs to Capito: Yeah, well, we haven't seen any of that money, so take a hike - we've got Mike's back. Indeed, Mike's been totally outstripping the pack in picking up endorsements, including nods from a broad range of unions.

As you can see, I think Mike is a strong candidate. This district leans Republican, but normal conceptions of party loyalty don't quite apply in West Virginia, a conservative state which still has strong ties to the Democrats. And CQ just changed their rating on the race, which means this seat, while a difficult one to capture, is nonetheless in play.

But just a cautionary word on the other two Dems in this race. One of them, Mark Hunt, gave the Raelian cult half a million bucks to try to clone his son. I swear that I am not kidding about that. The other is Richie Robb, who was a Republican until just a few months ago, and most recently came in fourth in the GOP primary for governor with a whopping 10% of the vote. We need to put our best foot forward in a race like this, and neither Hunt nor Robb qualifies.

So if you're in West Virginia's 2nd CD, I strongly encourage you to vote for Mike Callaghan tomorrow. If you aren't sure where your polling location is, check with your county clerk. (FYI: Polls close at 7:30pm.) And if you live outside the district but want to get involved, check out Mike's website. And go Callaghan!

UPDATE: CQ thinks that Callaghan is likely to win tomorrow - I hope they're right. Also, check this out:

Robert O. Rupp, a political scientist at West Virginia Wesleyan College, described Callaghan as a mix between Democratic political consultant James Carville and martial arts expert Chuck Norris.

Heh - I can dig it.

Posted at 04:22 PM in 2006 Elections - House, West Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Sunday, January 29, 2006

WV, KY & FEC: Some Filing Deadline Notes

Posted by DavidNYC

• WV's deadline was yesterday - 1/28. Two additional Dems have filed to run against Shelley Moore Capito. One, Mark Hunt, gave the Raelian cult half a million bucks to try to clone his son. The other, Richie Robb, just switched from the GOP - in fact, when you Google him, the first result is a campaign site which calls him a "Republican with Results." I'm sticking with Mike Callaghan on this one.

• WV's two Democratic reps, Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall will have GOP challengers, but I'm not sure how serious either effort is. Sen. Robert Byrd also has a challenger, wealthy businessman John Raese, whom some people seem to think presents a credible foe. However, Raese is legally a resident of Florida and has also lost two statewide races before.

• Kentucky's filing deadline is Tuesday the 31st. The KY Secretary of State has a very good website, including a page which lists all candidates who have filed in a nice, clean, readable format. Mark Nickolas is hinting that Ken Lucas will file on Monday - if he doesn't, we may not have a candidate in KY-04. On the flip-side, no Republicans have filed to run against the popular Ben Chandler in KY-06. If Chandler is unopposed, that would be quite a statement - Bush won the district by 17 points. I personally think Chandler should consider taking on Fletcher again in 2007.

• The FEC filing deadline is also the 31st. The fourth quarter in an off-year is typically slow (winter holidays and all), but campaigns which did well will probably release some preliminary figures tomorrow or Tuesday (ie, before they are obligated to do so). In any event, the FEC will be cranking out the official figures before long.

Posted at 04:29 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Kentucky, West Virginia | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

WV-02: Up Next

Posted by DavidNYC

Here are the next batch of filing deadlines:

WEST VIRGINIA - January 28
KENTUCKY - January 31
NEW MEXICO - February 14
OHIO - February 16
INDIANA - February 17
NORTH CAROLINA - February 28

In West Virginia, despite the fact that Bush won in double digits, most of the top elected officials are Dems: both Senators, the Governor, and two of three Representatives. The lone GOP sore thumb is Shelley Moore Capito, who had enough sense not to take on WV super-legend Robert Byrd in a senate race - but is still facing a tough challenge in her own second congressional district from Democrat Mike Callaghan.

Capito is a Tom DeLay clone - she's voted with him 93% of the time recently. Hardly a surprise given that she's taken $48,500 from DeLay's corrupt-to-the-bone ARMPAC - more than any other member of Congress. Capito's not returning that tainted cash, but she was forced to disgorge $6,000 she snarffed up from ex-Rep. and current felon Duke Cunningham (R-San Quentin). (The company you keep, ay?)

She also likes to play the dirty game of wasting taxpayers' money on "newsletters" to constituents (over $80,000 in 2005 alone). Her fellow WV reps, Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan (both Dems) haven't spent a penny on that kind of crap. Like Howard Dean says, you can't trust Republicans with money. While perhaps a small sin in the overall scheme of things, the abuse of franking privileges is precisely the sort of activity which is a hallmark of entrenched corruption. And I love this justification from a Capito spokesbot:

"The congresswoman would rather exhaust resources available to members of Congress informing West Virginians rather than leaving them in the dark."

The comebacker to this one is, "Does Shelley Moore Capito think her constituents aren't capable of watching TV news, reading a newspaper, or using the Internet?" Combine that with the always-potent "wasting taxpayers' money" charge and you can paint Capito as badly out-of-touch with her district. Like I say, franking isn't a huge big deal - but just remember how much mileage Newt Gingrich got out of a few bounced checks.

As I say, Callaghan is a strong challenger. He was head of the WV Dem Party and previously ran the state's environmental protection agency. I also wonder if Capito will once again get the endorsement of the United Mine Workers, despite her past efforts on behalf of miners, given her coziness with the anti-safety Bush White House. If you're interested in getting involved with Callaghan's campaign, click here.

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, West Virginia | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

WV-02: Shelley Moore Capito: Swimmin' in It

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, dear old Shelley Moore Capito. Smart enough to avoid being conned into a sucker's race against Sen. Robert Byrd, but more than dumb enough to accept piles and piles of DeLay Crooked Cash (TM) all these years. Check it:

A new study of campaign donations from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, shows that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is at the very top of the list.

Americans for a Republican Majority [ARMPAC], DeLay’s national political action committee, has given $2,523,414 to Republican candidates and members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate since 1994, according to the study released on Tuesday.

Capito has received $48,500, more than any other candidate, according to the study. She began receiving ARMPAC donations when she first ran for Congress in 2000.

Mike Callaghan, you may wanna highlight this fact about your opponent. Maybe just a teensy bit?

The Campaign for America's Future has done the Lord's work in putting together this comprehensive list tracking all of DeLay's Crooked Cash. Some of our favorite Republicants are way high on the list, such as our buddy Mike Ferugson of NJ, Heather "Nipplewonder" Wilson of NM, Chris "Count" Chocola of IN, and our new favorite whipping boy, Mark Green of WI.

Oh, but go check out the whole list! Your favorite reactionary nutjob is almost certain to be on it!

Posted at 12:04 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, West Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 03, 2005

WV-Sen/02: Capito Out Against Byrd; Callaghan in Against Capito

Posted by DavidNYC

The West Virginia Metro News is reporting that Shelley Moore Capito will not be challenging incumbent Dem Robert Byrd in the WV senate race. Good news for Byrd. I get the sense that the remaining GOP bench in WV just isn't that strong - not that Capito herself is all that fantastic.

On the flip side, Democrat Mike Callaghan - about whom we wrote earlier - will run against Capito in WV's second district. I'm not sure if this piece of news has been reported elsewhere yet, but I have this on good authority from Drew, the author of the original extensive profile of the district and of Mike.

I'm looking forward to seeing this race heat up - the eastern tip of this district is just a couple of hours from where I live right now - and I wish Mike the best of luck!

Posted at 02:45 PM in West Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, September 26, 2005

WV-02: Is Capito Vulnerable?

Posted by DavidNYC

I love this. Everyone is touting Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito as a possible giant-slaying opponent for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). But not only is Capito looking potentially weak against Byrd (he leads 55-39 in a recent poll), she's also been ignoring her own flank. From Drew at Our Congress:

WV-2 is a naturally Democratic district Capito has been able to hold since 2000 due to some fortunate timing and lack of sutiable opposition. In 2006, with an array of issues cutting against her and facing a viable challenger in former AUSA, WV Department of Environmnetal Protection Director, and state Democratic chair Mike Callaghan, Capito's luck will run out.

We have a chance to flip a rural House seat in a swing state.


Despite recent GOP gains, WV-02 retains a nearly two-to-one Democratic advantage in voter registration. This district, the longest east-to-west this side of the Mississippi, runs from the Eastern Panhandle across the center of the state to the mill towns along the Ohio River. The district is largely rural, with Charleston the only fairly sizable city within its borders.

The district is significantly older, poorer, and more likely to be unionized than national average. This creates serious problems for Capito on several fronts.

WV-02 has a very high percentage of its residents eligible for either or both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The Bush Aministration's changes in the Medicaid funding formula have caused a funding crisis in West Virginia. The cutbacks in covered services have caused enormous hardship for citizens and generated plenty of publicity in the state. Capito is caught on the wrong side of some crucial votes. On access to affordable health care, Capito is exposed. She pays lip service to expanding access while voting whichever way the insurance industry prefers.

Drew's got more - much, much more. His analysis is very comprehensive, very detailed, and very compelling. I strongly encourage you to check it out in full.

The beauty of the Internets is that there is no reason why we can't have posts like this on every potentially competitive race - and sites like Our Congress are a terrific tool for doing so. If you have anything knowledgeable to offer about any House race throughout the country, Our Congress is definitely the place to do it. You should create an account there if you haven't done so yet.

Posted at 09:39 PM in West Virginia | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, June 20, 2005

WV-Sen: Byrd Discusses Checkered Past

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I cringe everytime I see Republicans refer to Senator Byrd's involvement with the KKK decades ago. I often wonder how he has been elected so many times in West Virginia. And I am certain that it will be come a campaign issue in 2006. So is Senator Byrd, and now he is talking about it:

"It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me, and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one's life, career and reputation," the West Virginia Democrat says in an autobiography being released Monday. "I displayed very bad judgment, due to immaturity and a lack of seasoned reasoning." [...]

Even now, with the 2006 election more than 18 months away, Republicans are using it in their campaign to oust him.

It's a pretty enlightening article. I think it also instructive for West Virginians, and Americans, to read it in the context of a Republican Party that still has Senators who refuse to co-sponsor legislation apologizing for the lynchings that took place during the biggest stain in our country's past. Senator Byrd was a co-sponsor of the bill.

Posted at 01:38 PM in West Virginia | Technorati

Friday, June 03, 2005

WV-Sen: Shelley Moore Capito vs. Senator Robert Byrd Polls

Posted by Bob Brigham

While some people are worried about the West Virginia 2006 Senate race, I'm fairly confident that Senator Byrd's re-election is looking good. There was a new poll today, but it didn't change my views on the race.

First of all, there was an NRSC poll March 15-16, 2005. N=500 likely voters statewide. MoE ± 4.3. From the subscription-only side of Polling Report:

"If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Democrat Robert Byrd and Republican Shelly Capito, for whom would you vote?"

Byrd: 52%
Capito: 42%
Unsure: 8%

At the time this came out, I was 102% positive that this Republican poll was trying to make the race appear tighter than it really is. Now compare it to today's poll, RMS Strategies, May 11 & 18, 401 registered-voters (computer automated) MoE ± 4.9:

Byrd 46%
Capito: 43%
Undecided: 11%

So yeah, I'm going to call bullshit. I still think the NRSC poll was overly optimistic and this RMS poll has little value other than as a joke.

Byrd is looking just fine.

Posted at 05:17 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, West Virginia | Technorati

Friday, April 15, 2005

WV-Sen: Byrd up by Ten in GOP Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

The Anderson Group did a poll last month for the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the West Virginia senate race. While it's not 100% certain that Byrd will run for re-election, it seems pretty likely to me that he will. The opponent in this poll is GOP "dream" candidate, Rep. Shelly Capito (likely voters, no trendlines):

Byrd: 52
Capito: 42
Undecided: 8
(MoE: ±4.3%)

Before you get too excited, please note that Byrd won his last election (in 2000) by a margin of 78-21 (not a mis-print). It's a little troublesome to see him this close, but of course, this is a partisan poll. Also interesting is the incredibly low level of undecideds. Byrd has 110% name recognition in his home state, and I'm guessing that Capito must be well-known, too. (WV only has three congressmen, so that would make sense.)

But remember this as well: Byrd is an institution in West Virginia in a way that few other politicians have ever been in any other state. I've read many a time that you can't drive very far in WV without coming across a Robert Byrd High School or a Robert Byrd Bridge and the like. Personally, despite the political shift we've seen in WV in recent years, I think Byrd still has more than enough mojo to pull this one off.

(Thanks to Dave Weigel for the poll.)

Posted at 02:02 PM in West Virginia | Comments (5) | Technorati

Monday, August 09, 2004

Is Bush Shooting Himself in the Foot in Appalachia?

Posted by DavidNYC

This NYT story about coal mining regulations has me perplexed. On the one hand, it says that Bush wooed the mining vote in West Virginia in 2000 by promising to roll back environmental restrictions - ie, the kinds of regulations which allegedly were reducing the number of available mining jobs. WV, ordinarily a solid Democratic state, went for Bush - though Al Gore's gun stance (and some speculate, Joe Lieberman's religion) had something to do with it as well.

But now it seems, at the behest of the coal companies, Bushco is determined to roll back mining safety regulations, which are a horse of a much blacker color. The miners themselves - through their unions - are apparently quite opposed to such rollbacks. These anti-regulations, for instance, would permit exposure to even higher levels of coal dust - which is responsible for the dreaded black lung disease - even while OSHA itself is arguing for lower levels.

I can understand why the Bushies want to please their corporate benefactors in the coal industry. But coal executives don't cast too many votes. In order to once again carry a place like WV, Bush will need the rank-and-file - and if he's telling these works to literally eat his dust, I can't see how that's gonna help. And it seems to me that this is now the second time Bush has struck out when trying to win votes by helping a dying smokestack industry in Appalachia - remember steel tariffs, anyone? This news just put OH, PA and WV that much further out of Bush's grasp.

P.S. Environmental regulations - the kind promulgated by, say, the EPA or OSHA - are a key reason why it's so important to have a Democratic president. These sorts of rules can often be strengthened simply by a president's (or agency administrator's) directive, without getting stymed by lobbyists in Congress. And the regulations will get enforced by the president's appointees, who, without a doubt, will be much more vigilant in a Kerry administration than in a Bush administration.

Posted at 12:59 AM in Economy, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia | Comments (28) | Technorati

Monday, August 02, 2004

ARG Polls Taken During the Convention

Posted by DavidNYC

ARG profiled Iowa from July 26-28, which, it should be noted, was before John Kerry spoke on Thursday night at the convention. The results (likely voters, mid-April in parens):

Kerry: 47 (48)
Bush: 47 (47)
Undecided: 6 (5)
(MoE: ��4%)

Bush & Kerry have almost identical favorability ratings: 49-45 for Bush and 50-44 for Kerry. Bush has remained pretty much constant, but Kerry was at 42-34 in April, suggesting that he's been able to increase his positives at the same time that Bush has driven up his negatives. If these numbers hold until election day - ie, essentially tied across the board - I'd say Iowa is ours.

ARG also looked at West Virginia during the same time-frame. The deltas are equally unexciting (likely voters, mid-June in parens):

Kerry: 48 (48)
Bush: 44 (45)
Undecided: 8 (7)
(MoE: ��4%)

Somewhat to my surprise, Kerry is doing a lot better here on favorability than I would have expected. I'd have figured that Bush's exploitation of Kerry's socially liberal record would have badly hurt Kerry, as it did with Gore. But the challenger stands at 53-37, while Bush is at 44-50. At least according to ARG, it looks like Bush is in serious trouble here. It was only in March that his numbers were 61-37. That's a pretty precipitous drop, if you ask me. So maybe WV is ready to return to the Democratic fold.

I'm not aware of any other state polls that were taken after the convention. (Do pollsters not work on weekends?) But if you know of any, or hear about any, please let us know.

Posted at 01:28 AM in Iowa, West Virginia | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Swing State Roundup Redux

Posted by DavidNYC

TAP had a new Purple People Watch column out last week. It's almost entirely about the Senate races shaping up in the various battleground states.

Meanwhile, Slate has slowly continued its state-by-state series. I should say very slowly: In a month, they've only done two states. Gotta pick up the pace, fellas. Unfortunately, they've changed authors for the latest installment. The tolerable Chris Suellentrop wrote the first piece (on Missouri), but now they have the odious Lord Saletan penning the current piece on West Virginia. Maybe I'll wade through it (it's a three-part "diary" format) at some point. Or maybe I won't.

One really frustrating thing is the Economist's swing state series. All of the articles seem to wind up behind their subscription wall eventually. But for a brief period of time, they sometimes provide a link to the story for free - and that link seems to never expire. I was able to dig up working links for their entries on Pennsylvania and New Mexico. If you can extract links to any other stories in this series, please post `em here.

UPDATE: Okay, so I decided to read Saletan's WV diary, and it's not half-bad. It's pretty striking how conservative West Virginia is - striking because the state has so often voted Democrat in the past, and there's a good chance it'll do so again this year. The trick, says Saletan, is to appeal to protectionist sentiments and to demonstrate appropriate fealty to the military, something war veteran Kerry can actually do.

But Saletan does make one (pretty glaring) error. He says that West Virginians respect authority and have switched to the GOP when a Republican incumbent was running for re-election. (WV went red in `56, `72 and `84). The big problem with this thesis is `92, when incumbent Bush p��re lost. And back then, I'm willing to bet that economic issues did old number 41 in - just like they might once again.

UPDATE: Carl in the comments provides a link for the Economist's Arizona piece. I had also previously posted a link to the inaugural Ohio article.

Posted at 04:28 PM in Arizona, General, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, West Virginia | Comments (4) | Technorati

Friday, June 18, 2004

ARG: Kerry Ahead in WV

Posted by DavidNYC

This is now the second poll in a row to show Kerry with a lead in West Virginia. (Mason-Dixon previously showed Kerry with a six-point lead.) ARG's numbers are below (late March in parens):

Kerry: 47 (46)
Bush: 44 (46)
Nader: 3 (2)
Undecided: 6 (6)
(MoE: ��4%)

As Kos points out, Kerry's favorables have gone up despite the millions Bush has spent trying to tear our nominee down. He was at 45-36 in March; now he's at 51-32. Bush, meanwhile, has cratered. He's gone from 61-37 to 43-48. Sucka.

Posted at 04:45 PM in West Virginia | Comments (6) | Technorati

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Mason-Dixon: Sizable Kerry Lead in WV

Posted by DavidNYC

The last few polls in West Virginia have either given Bush the lead or shown the race to be neck-and-neck. Mason-Dixon offers up a new poll which shows Kerry with a pretty sizable lead:

Kerry: 47
Bush: 41
Undecided: 12
(MoE: ��4%)

There are no trendlines here. And unfortunately, this poll is only available on Polling Report's subscribers-only section. In fact, this poll is described as having been performed for a "private client." I don't know how big a force independent voters are in WV, but they are leaning toward Kerry 45-35 in this poll.

As I recall, the Democratic candidate for governor in WV was reluctant to even mention John Kerry's name when saying he supported his party's nominee for President. Hopefully, polls results like this will convince the WV Democratic establishment that supporting Kerry is not an electoral death-sentence. To the contrary: It would seem that supporting Bush is now the riskier move.

P.S. The Prospect has a new Purple People Watch column up. I wish, though, that they'd be a bit more blog-like about it, and post links to polls, news stories, etc. On second thought, nah, I don't really want the competition.

Posted at 02:10 PM in West Virginia | Comments (7) | Technorati

Friday, May 07, 2004

Ipsos: Bush Ahead In WV

Posted by DavidNYC

Ipsos has a new poll out in West Virginia:

Bush: 49
Kerry: 45
Nader: 3
Undecided: 3
(MOE: ��3.1%)

This poll was conducted at the end of last month - before Kerry's huge new ad buy. Other recent polls (scroll down) have been equally close. I am a little skeptical of the tiny number of undecideds in this poll, though.

By the way, is anyone else sick of Larry Sabato? For a so-called expert, I find his analysis to be severely lacking:

"This poll confirms again that most Americans have made up their minds already and that there's remarkably little change since 2000," said Sabato, a professor at the University of Virginia.

"It's like we had a time warp."

Bullshit. There was a lot of change after 2000, in Bush's favor. Then there was a lot of change back, against Bush. Maybe this concept is too complicated for the media - and it certainly doesn't help when self-proclaimed gurus like Sabato proclaim otherwise.

One thing I will say: The continued existence of this notion - that we're still a 50/50 nation - redounds to Bush's favor. It obscures the fact that he gained a whole lot of new support after his election (and especially after9/11), but then squandered it all. We need to spread the meme that we've returned to the 50/50 nation - and that this is a bad portent for Bush.

Posted at 04:03 PM in West Virginia | Comments (7) | Technorati

West Virginia Archive: