Tags: Joe Manchin

The Things You Learn From a Roomful of House GOP Candidates


Things I learned at a recent meeting of the “Young Guns” at the National Republican Congressional Committee:

  • In West Virginia, Gov. Joe Manchin, who is likely to be the Democrats’ nominee in the race for the Senate, cannot use the $140,000 left in his gubernatorial campaign fund in a Senate campaign. So he’s effectively starting from scratch. His most likely rival, Republican John Raese, ran against Robert Byrd in 2006 and spent $1.5 million of his own fortune. Manchin is still a favorite, but this is a complication.
  • Andy Barr’s House race in Kentucky will probably be the first one called on election night; polls in Kentucky close at 6 p.m. Eastern. If Barr beats three-term incumbent Ben Chandler, it will be an early indicator of a good night for the GOP.
  • A sleeper issue in Arkansas’s 1st congressional district: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is remapping flood zones, and dramatically expanding the number of counties in this district that are defined as within a flood zone. Homeowners in the expanded zone will have to purchase FEMA-approved flood insurance, at a cost of $2,000 per year. Republican Rick Crawford vehemently opposes the expansion; he accuses Democrat Chad Causey of not having a clear position on the FEMA plan.
  • In Illinois, Randy Hultgren wonders where his opponent, incumbent Democrat Bill Foster, is. He says Foster events are rarely publicized ahead of time, and he rarely if ever does traditional “town hall” meetings. There’s even speculation that Foster doesn’t come back to the district that often; an entire 30 minutes from O’Hare, it’s not like it’s hard to get to from Washington. 
  • Kristi Noem’s early success running in South Dakota’s at-large district against incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has prompted the DCCC to purchase $500,000 in air time in the final two weeks before Election Day. That’s a phenomenal amount of money to spend on one of the least expensive states in the country; a half-million buys a lot of air time in South Dakota.
  • Mick Mulvaney, running against John Spratt in South Carolina, just wants to keep the spending race reasonably close. “If I have enough resources to get my message out, it doesn’t matter how much he has to get his message out.”
  • Plenty of Republicans from districts that McCain won handily — like David McKinley in West Virginia’s 1st district — joked that they would love to see President Obama appear on behalf of their Democratic rivals. But Keith Fimian, running against Democrat Gerry Connolly in northern Virginia’s suburban district, said the same thing. He noted that Obama won the district handily in 2008, but then the GOP’s Bob McDonnell won 55 percent in this district in 2009. This year, Connolly won’t have that helpful Obama wave or any top-of-the-ticket help; this year, he is the top of the ticket.

Tags: Andy Barr , David McKinley , Joe Manchin , Keith Fimian , Kristi Noem , Mick Mulvaney , Randy Hultgren , Rick Crawford

West Virginia Republicans Need a Senate Candidate, Fast


Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Republican, is expected to announce shortly that she will not be running in her state’s special Senate election.

Capito was the best-known option for Republicans in the state, but her candidacy might have had some flaws. She is an incumbent in a vehemently anti-incumbent year, she has made some pro-choice votes and would be running against a pro-life Democrat, and state lawmakers were facing a last-minute effort to change the law to ensure she could run for the House and Senate simultaneously. Had she run for the Senate and not House reelection, a currently GOP-held, and likely quite safe, House seat would be at risk.

Having said that, Republicans need a candidate to file by Friday.

Tags: Joe Manchin , Shelley Moore Capito

In the First West Virginia Poll, Shelley Moore Capito Clears a Very Low Bar


Rasmussen takes a look at the possible West Virginia Senate race, and finds that

popular Democratic Governor Joe Manchin is the early leader in hypothetical matchups with two of his possible Republican opponents. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in West Virginia, taken Thursday night, shows Manchin with 53% support, while Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito earns 39% of the vote.

Manchin’s early lead isn’t surprising; I’m reminded of this piece in Slate from 2004:

Until 2000, West Virginia had voted Republican in only three of the last 18 presidential elections: 1956, 1972, and 1984. What did those elections have in common? They featured Republican incumbents. West Virginians respect authority: religious, military, and political. That’s why the state’s congressional delegation, led by Sen. Robert Byrd, is so entrenched. West Virginia Democrats stick with the party of their fathers unless the GOP nominates an incumbent president, in which case the authority of the White House trumps the authority of family and party. The exception is 2000, when the guys at the Cargo station gave Bush, a neophyte, the five votes he needed to win the county. Why? “He had his daddy” to guide him, says Robert. They trusted the king’s son.

There are a few rare exceptions, of course; House Democrat Alan Mollohan lost his primary earlier this year.

But keep in mind that in 2006, when Robert Byrd was 89 years old and already frail, the Republican challenger managed only 33.7 percent of the vote and never polled above 34 percent. No Republican got more than 36 percent against Byrd since 1958. The only time Republicans passed 39 percent in a Senate race against either Byrd or Jay Rockefeller was in Rockefeller’s first bid in 1984.

In other words, as modest as Capito’s 39 percent seems, it is probably the best performance for a Republican in a Senate poll in about a generation.

Tags: Joe Manchin , Shelley Moore Capito

Toss One More Competitive 2010 Senate Race on the Pile: West Virginia


Yes, West Virginia, there is a special Senate election this year, or at least the prospects look quite likely:

West Virginia’s attorney general says Gov. Joe Manchin can put the late Robert C. Byrd’s Senate seat on the ballot this November . . . Manchin may now call a special legislative session to settle details such as candidate filing and party nomination deadlines. Manchin will appoint someone to fill the vacancy in the meantime. The Democrat says he may run for Byrd’s seat, but won’t have himself appointed.

A weird wrinkle of the potential matchup of the biggest name on each side? Democrat Manchin is pro-life; Republican Shelly Moore Capito is largely pro-choice.

Tags: Joe Manchin

Assessing That Potential West Virginia Race . . .


If, indeed, West Virginia has a special Senate election this November, and the competitors turn out to be Gov. Joe Manchin on the Democratic side and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito on the Republican side, the GOP has to feel pretty good about the party’s chances.

Sure, Manchin is relatively popular (hard to tell with so little polling in the state); he would probably be the favorite, but not overwhelmingly so. But this is a year in which the Democrats already have to defend Senate seats in states they never expected — California, Washington, Wisconsin — and so this adds one more battlefront. The DSCC just isn’t going to have enough resources to fight everywhere; Manchin is probably going to be on his own for much of his fight. For what it is worth, Obama is terribly unpopular in the state.

With a Capito-Manchin race, the GOP has at least a decent shot of winning the seat, something they haven’t had in decades of campaigns against Robert Byrd or Jay Rockefeller.

Tags: Joe Manchin , Shelley Moore Capito

GOP Begins Push for Special West Virginia Senate Election


Looks like West Virginia Republicans are starting a new push for a special Senate election this year. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito released the following statement today, regarding an election to fill the remainder of the U.S. Senate term left vacant by the death of Sen. Robert Byrd:

While West Virginians continue to honor the life and legacy of Senator Robert Byrd, the process to select a new U.S. Senator has already begun among our state’s elected officials. The U.S. Constitution places the power of filling a vacancy correctly with the voters while allowing for state legislatures to permit temporary appoints by the Governor.

I am confident that a West Virginian with a distinguished record of public service can be appointed in an open and transparent process to serve on an interim basis until a Special Election can be held. The West Virginia Secretary of State announced that under current election law the Special Election will not take place until the 2012 election cycle. While that may be the correct interpretation of the current law, I do not believe it is the right course for West Virginia.

The power of our vote should never be limited or delayed in selecting our elected officials, and 28 months is too long for any person to serve in an elective office through appointment. I encourage the West Virginia Legislature to amend our state’s election code and allow for a Special Election during the current election cycle on November 2, 2010. For the first time in 26 years, voters may go to the polls this November to select a new U.S. Senator. As this process will create intense speculation on potential candidates, it will ultimately allow for a healthy discussion of the pressing problems facing our state and country. Throughout my almost 14 years in public office, I am constantly reminded that elected officials are caretakers of that office on behalf of the people.

If there is a special election, many Republicans would like to see Capito run.

It appears that this is more than just GOP grousing:

Secretary of State Natalie Tenant has already called on state lawmakers to revise the law to allow for a special election.

“For me, there is a distinct line between how I personally feel and what I can legally do,” Tennant said on her website late last week. “I personally believe that the voters of the state should be allowed to elect a successor to Senator Byrd sooner than November of 2012.”

But as the law is currently written, Tennant has said Gov. Joe Manchin must appoint a successor to serve out the remainder of Byrd’s unexpired term.

By the way, isn’t it refreshing to hear a public official acknowledge that what she wants and what the law requires are two separate concepts?

Tags: Joe Manchin , Robert Byrd , Shelley Moore Capito

Will Byrd’s Seat Be Declared Vacant Today, or July 3?


West Virginia’s Sen. Robert Byrd, RIP.

Nate Silver looked into the rules for the vacancy:

Under West Virginia state law on handling Senate vacancies, “if the vacancy occurs less than two years and six months before the end of the term, the Governor appoints someone to fill the unexpired term and there is no election”. Otherwise, [Gov. Joe] Manchin would appoint an interim replacement, and an special election would be held in November to determine who held the seat in 2011 and 2012.

In other words, we are within a week of the threshold established by West Virginia law. If a vacancy were to be declared on July 3rd or later, there would not be an election to replace Byrd until 2012. If it were to occur earlier, there could potentially be an election later this year, although there might be some ambiguities arising from precisely when and how the vacancy were declared.

In New York, David Paterson waited months before declaring Eric Massa’s House seat vacant. The idea of Manchin waiting a week to recognize the vacancy is not unthinkable.

Tags: Joe Manchin , Robert Byrd


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