By Carole on Sep 16, 2011
Now that Congressman Bob Turner (R-New York) has been sworn in on Capitol Hill, national attention is turning to the October 4 special election in West Virginia. Acting Governor and career politician Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who took office when former Governor Joe Manchin moved up to the US Senate, is running for a term of his own against conservative businessman Bill Maloney (R). Sound familiar?
As in NY-9, an establishment Democrat is running against a political novice in a race that was supposed to be a slam dunk for the Democrat. Just a few months ago, Acting Governor Tomblin held a whopping 33 point lead (56% - 23%) in the polls. But a poll taken earlier this month shows that lead is down to just 6 points (46% - 40%) with 14% of voters still undecided.
"The momentum in this race is definitely in Bill Maloney's direction," said Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling, the Democratic Party-affiliated firm responsible for both surveys.
Mr. Maloney got another momentum boost yesterday when the Charleston Daily Mail endorsed the Republican saying, "The Democratic Party has controlled the Legislature since 1933. It has adopted policies that serve political allies - organized labor, plaintiffs' lawyers - instead of policies that would improve West Virginians' economic prospects. It's time state leaders acted in West Virginians' best interests...[Bill Maloney] is the change agent West Virginia needs."
Citing West Virginia's rank as 49th among the states in per capita income, the editorial board declared that, "The cure for poverty is a private sector that can create wealth and jobs - not government that redistributes income." That certainly brings to mind Mr. Tomblin's fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama, whose shadow looms over this campaign as it did in New York's ninth district.
Commenting on the president's recently released jobs plan, Mr. Maloney issued a statement saying, "The American Jobs Act is all about saving two jobs: Obama's and Tomblin's. The Obama-Tomblin team has failed West Virginia and this type of performance can't be rewarded with reelection."
While presidential policies and ideology may not be as relevant to a gubernatorial election as they are in a congressional contest, there is some connection. Mr. Maloney referred to that recently while outlining the differences between himself and his opponent, ""I know one thing: I will actively campaign against Barack Obama. That's a big difference."
Should the Democrats be worried in West Virginia? While a Turner-esque upset is still a longshot, in the current political and economic climate anything's possible.
|« Obama's Still Ignoring The Obvious||Fishing For The Best Jobs Plan »|