WV To See First Female Senator

May 26, 2014


By:  Rob Jones

“[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is in the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, FREEDOM, INDEPENDENCE, PEACE. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice.”                                         –  John Adams

“From the day of the Declaration…they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct.”                                                   – John Quincy Adams, July 4, 1821

Hello, friends and fellow Mountaineers! I’ve started this column off with my signature of adding quotes. But these quotes are of particular interest, as they are both from relatives. I am a decendant of both John and John Quincy Adams, on my mothers side of our family. I’ve always admired them for their contributions to our history. Our history is full of so many great people, but they all knew something that all great people should know. They all knew that they didn’t know everything. So, from our very meager beginnings, these great leaders did something extraordinary. They left us two brilliant things… 1.  The Unites States Constitution 2.  A way to change it.

To me, two acts that showed how humble they really were, as both men and as leaders. (We have had some great women leaders too, so I’m including everyone in this!) Speaking of female leaders, that brings me to todays topic. Which is the fact that West Virginia is poised to elect its very first female U.S. senator. The May 13 party primaries is not solving anything, as the two ladies leading the way, Natalie Tennant and Shelley Moore Capito, have no opposition until they match up in November.

In recent years, the Great State of West Virginia has turned sharply conservative. Democratic Secretary of State Tennant and Republican Congresswoman Capito are both vying for the vacant senate seat, once occupied by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller. A seat that has been out of play since 1985 and being left vacant, due to Rockefeller retiring after five terms.

Capito is being called a heavy favorite, due to President Obama’s growing unpopularity and the mirky conditions for Democrats, as of late. An April GOP poll gave Capito a 16-percent lead. Tennant, on the other hand, celebrated a January Democratic poll, in which she was losing by only 6 percent. Still, WV has sent only Democrats to the U.S. senate in the last 55 years. Jennings Randolf had a seat for 25 years before Rockefeller and the late Robert C. Byrd held his seat for some 50 years, until his passing in 2010. Former Gov. Joe Manchin locked up Byrd’s seat in 2010, after a few months of Carte Goodwin being appointed.

Tennant has the obvious endorsements of Rockefeller and Manchin and is also backed by unions and pro-abortion groups. WV Democrats face strong scrutiny, due to the president’s energy policies, like proposed regulations on new coal-fired plants. If you remember, Obama only won 35.5 percent of the statewide vote and lost every single county in West Virginia, in 2008 and was a Democratic National Convention delegate in 2012. A campaign that Tennant touted Obama in. Republicans are counting on the Democrats’ unpopularity to cruise to a victory. Capito has business interests in her corner, most notebly, the huge WV coal industry.

Like many other Democrats, from energy-states, facing re-election, Tennant is vowing to buck Obama and Senate leaders on coal. Tennant is pressing her campaign by planning to visit all 55 counties. Meanwhile, Capito is banking on the fact that West Virginia is losing jobs and people are pessimistic on Democrats. Capito believes that these things should be soundly at the feet of the party and principals that have been in effect for the last several years. Tennant hope to show Capito as a foot soldier for the Republican House leadership, saying that Capito backed national flood insurance rate hikes and voted to strip  down Medicare by supporting the GOP budget.

In my eyes, Capito is the lesser of the two evils, so to speak. I don’t feel that Capito is a conservative enough candidtate. On the other hand, West Virginia can’t afford to have a Democrat in that seat. Especially one that has backed Obama. I don’t think that Capito will have any really fight from tennant, past the usual mud slinging and talking points. I look for some TV commercials to take pot shots at Capito and try to score some points. But Capito is maintaining a 4-to-1 cash advantage, with nearly $4.2 million in the bank. I look for Capito to turn up the heat on Tennant too, with ads and campaign messages.

Look for these two ladies to be airing ads in places where they feel they can both pick up some points. I’ve not heard about any face to face debates, so I’m not counting on any. Things may change, but I have my doubts. I also don’t look for this race to be shooting a bunch of sparks. I see this race as being kind of laid back and smooth running. Again, things are subject to change, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. In the end, I think we’ll see Shelley Moore Capito as our new West Virginia U.S. senator. I think Democrats have too many things against them.

Democrats ramped up support of Obamacare and still tout its success, when America knows that it’s one very flawed law and is heavily unpopular. In the end, I see Republicans winning numerous senate seats. Will we win enough to take control of the senate? That remains to be seen, but I’m optimistic about it. Obama was certain that his policies would pay huge dividends, but the reality is that Democrats are scared and rightly so. God Bless You! God Bless West Virginia! God Bless America!



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