The Campaign Spot

Send Him Home, West Virginia…

I’d prefer one candidate with a good message, good resume, and good fundraising base to a crowd of candidates, but when you get a small army of aspiring congressmen taking on a longtime incumbent, it probably does give a sense of public sentiment:

For a number of reasons, [West Virginia GOP Executive Director Troy] Berman says there is potential for a Republican to win the First Congressional District in 2010.  It’s the seat Congressman Alan Mollohan currently holds, one that has belonged to a Democrat for decades.

Republicans now in the race include Political Advocate Cindy Hall from Wheeling, Coal Executive Scott Smith from Preston County, Entrepreneur Tom Stark from Wood County, Parkersburg Businessman Daniel Swisher, Randolph County State Senator Clark Barnes and Morgantown Businessman Mac Warner.

“It’s a very encouraging sign,” Berman says.  “We have more candidates running or announcing their intentions to run in the Republican Primary than we have had stand up against Alan Mollohan since, I think, he was first elected in 1982.”

Now, Mollohan ran unopposed last year, while McCain was carrying 57 percent. In the southern third of the state, Democrat Nick Rahall took two-thirds of the vote while McCain was winning by a similar margin. And Senators Robert Byrd and John Rockerfeller are pretty strong evidence that West Virginians are not quick to toss out an incumbent.

But maybe this is the cycle that red-district Democrats who have always hung on in the past can’t overcome the tide…

UPDATE: Brian Faughnan makes the case for why “the DCCC is desperately hoping Mollohan retires, so they can spend $2 million on other races rather than see it go to pay the lawyers hired by a losing House candidate.”

One caveat: In the past couple of days, I’ve heard that John Murtha may be facing an indictment, that Pete Visclosky may be facing an indictment, and now Faughnan writes, “there’s an excellent chance [Mollohan] will be indicted on ethics charges.” But these sorts of rumors bubble up regularly and so far, all three are free men. You’ll know for sure that any of these guys have been indicted when the FBI shows up with some shiny bracelets for them to try on.

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