WV-01: Tea-Party Vs. Blue-Dog?

 

Former State Senator, Mike Oliverio (D-WV), recently beat out 14-term incumbent Alan Mollohan for the Democratic Party's nomination for the West Virginia 1st Congressional District.  Although voter-turnout was somewhere around the dismal range of 20-25% (possibly less), the Oliverio-Mollohan match-up was one of the first exciting elections of 2010.  No doubt this will be a year that incumbents in Congress, specifically Democrats, will have a harder time getting re-elected.  Alan Mollohan had problems with Oliverio's negative campaign ads (specifically his disregard for paying taxes and subsequent forclosure on a home in North Carolina).

Mollohan's reign in the first district will end, and this battle royale for the Congressional seat will pit Oliverio against the Repulican nominee David McKinley.  McKinley is a Wheeling businessman.

The 2010 election marked Mollohan's first legitimate challenge to his Congressional seat since 1992 when redistricting efforts pitted him against 2nd District Rep. Harley Staggers, D-W.Va.

The congressman ran a relatively lethargic campaign until recently, when he began airing TV ads calling Oliverio dangerously conservative and bad for business and labor. Oliverio, in contrast, campaigned aggressively since entering the race in January.

Oliverio will face Republican David McKinley in the November election.

McKinley emerged from a bog of GOP candidates, claiming about 35 percent of the 1st District vote. He downed Mac Warner by about 3,500 votes. Sarah Minear finished third with 21 percent (8,428). Tom Stark, Patricia Vangilder Levenson and Cindy Hall netted less than 10 percent each.

Source:  Parkersburg News

 The Parkersburg News recently had all of the Congressional candidates write a column for the paper detailing why they were the worthy candidate for the position.  McKinley, whom I didn't have extensive knowledge about, appeared repping the tea-party mantra

It's time to change the political culture of Washington. All across America, people are rejecting the liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda. We're tired of excessive spending, government takeovers, and the "war on coal." It's time to send someone to Washington who will stand up for West Virginia values.

A lot of people who supported Mollohan during the primary regarded Oliverio as a Blue-Dog, or even a DINO. Oliverio is a co-chair of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), something which Mollohan called out as a right-wing organization.  Oliverio had this to say in his Letter to the Editor Column

Mollohan has centered his television advertising around my leadership role in what he calls a right-wing organization. The truth is, it is a non-partisan professional organization of almost 2,000 legislators from across the country founded on the principles of Thomas Jefferson.

The organization his ads reference is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization previously chaired by Joe Manchin, a person that I believe has served our state admirably. Former ALEC executive director Alan Smith has written a letter to newspapers in the Northern District expressing nothing short of outrage that Alan Mollohan would smear an organization that seeks to offer model legislation aimed at protecting individual liberties and keeping jobs in the United States.

Joe Manchin is the current Democratic Governor of West Virginia, whose term ends soon and will most likely be vying for the Senate seat that will probably be vacated by long time serving Senator Robert C. Byrd. 

My prediction is that Mike Oliverio will carry the district and win the election in November, but time will show how McKinley crafts his campaign.  If Oliverio was able to unseat such a long-term incumbent, I'd say his chances are looking pretty good.

What Do Hamid Karzai, Lindsey Graham, and the Stock Market Have in Common? (And Some Great WV Elections!)

I haven't put out a diary in awhile, and therefore it makes me sad.  So in celebration of the end of my hiatus amongst the blogosphere, I have a diary of quality substance with several different stories chocked into one...hopefully.

Anyway, to answer the question posed by the title of this diary now.  What Do Hamid Karzai, Lindsey Graham, and the Stock Market all have in common?  If you answered that they were all mentioned by the media as potential SCOTUS nominees, you may partially be correct... but not for the context of this diary.  Though this title doesn't really pertain to the actual substance of the diary, I just wanted to point out that all three are incredibly moody.  I wish to see the day where Karzai and Graham both have Facebook and update their statuses with how great their day went, then 10 minutes later put up an emo status about how much their lives suck and how they really don't think its time to push that climate bill or "I'll just haul myself over to Taliban HQ and see what America thinks of THAT!"

Okay....  so now for real substance, sorry I just figured some lame comic-relief was needed.

Election day is today in West Virginia and I personally can't wait.  I will cast my vote, and not reveal who it is I am voting for.  The first Congressional district is up for grabs and it should indeed be an exciting race!  State Senator Michael Oliverio is up for the Democratic Party's nomination, against incumbent virtuoso Alan Mollohan (D-WV). I haven't found any recent reliable polls so the race is pretty up in the air.  The winner of this primary challenge will face the winner of a slew of Republican candidates.

In West Virginia's 1st Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., faces state Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, for the Democratic nomination to the seat. The nominee will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 2 general election. The six GOP hopefuls include Cindy Hall, Patricia VanGilder Levenson and David B. McKinley of Wheeling, Sarah Minear and Mac Warner of Morgantown and Thomas Stark of Parkersburg.

Source:  Wheeling Intelligencer

In my opinion, I think the district will stay blue regardless however it will be a battle.  

Not in the national spotlight but still an awesome story, is a race in the West Virginia House of Delegates.  David Eplin, a Democrat from Logan County, set out in a unique way to file his candidacy for House of Delegates.

When David Eplin traveled from Logan County to Charleston to file paperwork at the secretary of state's office this week, he took the typical route: U.S. 119.  But the 23-year-old says he trekked the 40-some miles by foot.

Eplin, a Chapmanville resident, is running for a seat in the House of Delegates 19th District. The Democrat works as a warehouseman at the Pepsi Bottling Group in Logan.

He wanted to prove his dedication to potential constituents, he said. So he walked -- and sometimes ran -- to the Capitol.

Source:  Charleston Gazette

A unique, and dedicated, way to file your candidacy and show the voters of your district that you care about them and want to serve them well.  This should come as now surprise, the citizens of West Virginia are among the most caring and thoughtful individuals this state has to offer.  Election day is going to be an exciting day, and I look forward to bringing a full report once results come in.

 

WV-01: Extraneous Mud-Slinging Escalates With A Week Until Primaries

 

In a rare challenge for his seat this early in the election year, Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is facing his first Democratic Primary opponent in almost 20 years.  Mike Oliverio, a state senator from Morgantown, is challenging Mollohan and running on a platform that focuses attention on deficit reduction measures.  

The race, up until the past week or two, has been relatively uneventful.  In fact, I didn't even know Mollohan was facing a primary opponent until I saw a facebook ad for Oliverio in March.  Taking an incumbent like Alan Mollohan on (who is approaching 28 years in Congress) is clearly a challenge.  West Virginia adores incumbents.  If you don't believe me then direct your attention towards Robert C. Byrd (D-WV).  The longest serving Congressman in the legislative body's history is among one of the several incumbent Democrats who rarely face challenging opposition.

The Mollohan name is synonymous with the seat that he currently holds, as Alan Mollohan succeeded his father (Bob) after he had served 16 years in the same seat.  

Mollohan's record of earmarking has come into question the past few years, but the charges initially brought by the Department of Justice have since been dropped.  However, this doesn't leave Mollohan off the hook as Oliverio has chosen to air ads attacking the Congressman's record.  Politico's Josh Krausharr recently reported this:

West Virginia Rep. Alan Mollohan's Democratic primary opponent is pulling no punches in the run-up to the May 11 election, airing an ad spotlighting Mollohan's ethics woes and accusing the congressman of "funnel[ing] millions of your tax dollars to his contributors and business partners." 

In his ad, state Sen. Mike Oliverio cites a recent report from the good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that named Mollohan one of the most corrupt members of Congress. 

Mollohan has not made his opinions regarding these ads a secret. His campaign manager, as well as him personally, issued statements denouncing the ads and criticizing Oliverio of not sticking to the real issues.  This is where the squabble begins, and it wouldn't be politics without it. 

"He's lying. He’s just straight out lying about me," Mollohan told MetroNews in a Monday phone interview. "When that happens you just have to take it on and call it what it is."

Mollohan says Oliverio should be talking about the issues, but instead he's digging up past allegations made by the Chris Wakim campaign in 2006.

"He's pretty well defining himself, not only his character with the kind of campaign he's running, but he's defining himself by his right wing policies," Mollohan said.

Oliverio says he's defined himself by serving 18 years in the state legislature. "Balancing budgets, educating children, delivering health care, the kinds of things people expect from an elected official. That's who I am," Oliverio said.

Source:  WVMetroNews

 

Of course, words were not enough to champion himself over Oliverio.  Mollohan incorporated an ad of his own that criticized Oliverio's membership with The American Legislative Exchange Council. (WV Public Broadcasting)

Mollohan responded with an ad criticizing Oliverio’s relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

 

According to its website, Oliverio is the co-state chair of the group. Mollohan describes the ALEC as right-wing.

ALEC has been a highly criticized organization by more left-wing pundits and bloggers for its ties to big tobacco lobbies and is claimed to be a right-wing favoring organization by some.  

To make matters even more interesting, Oliverio challenged Alan Mollohan to a debate in early March to formally address issues.

"I've asked for a debate, and he doesn't want to debate," Oliverio said. "A lot of people have questions about how Congressman Mollohan became a multi-millionaire, and accumulated this enormous wealth.

Mollohan's response was this:

Mollohan has refused to debate Oliverio, which the senator calls a "display of arrogance." Mollohan says he may have agreed to a debate if it would have focused on the real issues of the First District.

The Democratic Primary is May 11 in West Virginia, a week from today, and this race only continues to get more interesting.  Many across the state believe that Mollohan's days are numbered, while many still view Oliverio as more of a blue-dog Democrat unwilling to support a progressive agenda.  I don't know how this race will turn out, but I'm excited to watch it happen.

WV-01:Dem Incumbent Mollohan and Challenger Oliverio Produce Conflicting Polls

In a previous diary a few days ago I posted about how Mike Oliverio, Democratic state senator running against Alan Mollohan, produced polls showing him in the lead with less than 3 weeks left before the West Virginia primary elections.

The Hill's Ballot Box reported this:

The poll, which was conducted by in-state pollster Orion Strategies, shows Oliverio surging to an eight-point lead on the incumbent, 41-33. A couple months ago, Mollohan led 41-31

Mollohan's campaign manager didn't believe the validity of these results. I don't know how they extrapolated those numbers," said Pam Van Horn, Mollohan's campaign manager.(Parkersburg News)

Mollohan and his campaign thus released their polls, conducted by FrederickPolls in Arlington.

The Mollohan poll by FrederickPolls of Arlington, Va., was done Wednesday and Thursday and surveyed by telephone 400 Democrats and independents who were asked if the election were today, for whom would they vote, Van Horn said.

Forty-five percent said they'll vote for Mollohan, 36 percent were for state Sen. Michael Oliverio and 19 percent were undecided, she said.

Source: Parkersburg News

A full statement regarding the polling data can be found here

A link pulled from the Charleston Gazette detailing Oliverio's polling data can be seen here

This race has the potential to get heated in the coming days.

 

 

WV-01: Incumbent Dem Down In Polls as Primary Election Nears

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is seeing his first Democratic primary challenger since 1992, and his name is Mike Oliverio.  (Mollohan is currently running to secure his 14th term in the House of Representatives. 

His challenger, Mike Oliverio, currently holds a seat on the West Virginia State Senate.  

Polls show the 27 year veteran facing quite an opposition.  A seat once thought would certainly be held by Mollohan is now up for contention, and Oliverio has an upper hand going into the final week of April.  

During the last week of January, as Oliverio prepared for a potential run for Congress, he commissioned Orion Strategies to conduct a poll of 600 Democratic voters likely to vote in the primary based on their history. Oliverio pointed to two factors in the poll's results that led him to decide to run against Mollohan, D-W.Va.

  • Asked the question "In a race between Alan Mollohan and another Democratic candidate, would you vote for Alan Mollohan?" half of those responding said they would vote for Mollohan, while another 23 percent were undecided.
  • The voters also were asked if they approved of leadership of some top Democrats. Gov. Joe Manchin's resulting approval rating was 67 percent; that of President Barack Obama, 46 percent; and Mollohan's, 40 percent

This is just an example of the political climate surrounding state politics in West Virginia, and specifically on Mollohan as reported in the Wheeling Intelligencer  

Aaron Blake, of The Hill's Ballot Box Campaign Blog, had this to say:

Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) is in serious trouble in his primary, according to a new poll released by state Sen. Mike Oliverio.

The poll, which was conducted by in-state pollster Orion Strategies, shows Oliverio surging to an eight-point lead on the incumbent, 41-33. A couple months ago, Mollohan led 41-31

Growing opposition to Rep. Mollohan continues in the wake of corruption charges that have been brought against him over the past few years.  A recent investigation by the DOJ was dropped, but the public opinion has been significantly dropping.

There are roughly 17 days until the primary election, it will be very interesting to see how this develops.  Does Oliverio have a chance to win the primary and face a Republican foe in the November elections?

We shall see.

 

 

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