Thought I would briefly chat about the ramifications of the Mollohan loss and give what little insight I can from the local perspective. Other than a couple years in the military, I’ve lived in this district my whole life. I had a Mollohan as my Representative (Bob then his son) my whole life, I handed out flyers for McKinley when I was in the GOP, and I went to school with his daughter (and even worked for her campaign for student government!).
At any rate, I would not at all be surprised to see McKinley win this race and pick up another seat for the Republicans. The first problem I see for Oliverio (and I’ve never met him or worked for his campaigns) was the entire tone of his campaign to unseat Mollohan. He ran to the right of Mollohan, and from his website alone, you can see where he stood on the issues:
*vehemently anti-cap and trade
*against the HCR
In one quickly infamous moment, he even stated he might not support Pelosi in the leadership battle:
“I will vote for the candidate in the best interest of West Virginia,” Oliverio said following the event. “Hopefully, there will be a better candidate than Nancy Pelosi.”
There really isn’t a whole lot there to fire up the Democratic base, and I just don’t see how he tacks left heading into a general election. As it is, a lot of people in the liberal/progressive wing might look at this general election as a race between two Republicans. Again, I have never personally met the man, so I have no “feel” for him, but I know people who say he is a decent fellow.
One thing Oliverio does have is good name recognition, and as he is not an incumbent he can run against DC.
McKinley, on the other hand, has a strong base in the northern panhandle of the state, and has been active in the Republican party for decades. He is a staunch conservative, but he isn’t from the hater wing of the party. He dispatched the two candidates I would consider part of the Limbaugh/Palin wing of the party, but their combined vote was still more than McKinley’s, so that shows you where the WV GOP is. He’s a soft spoken guy and probably a little bit more polished than Oliverio, who sometimes seems wooden in commercials and television clips.
I haven’t followed McKinley for years, but I’d be really surprised if he embraces the Bachmann crazy. He just doesn’t seem like that kind of person, and my father reminded me that at least initially, he fought back against agreeing to a pledge to read every bill before he votes on it, telling the teabagger contingent that bills are long, you need aides to help you read them, and that they were being naive if they thought anyone had time to read every word of every bill. In other words, he was sensible, especially by Republican standards. I know that at least one of McKinley’s challengers went after him for that, so I don’t know if McKinley eventually backpedaled.
So McKinley has a good deal of cross-over appeal, especially when you consider the Democratic candidate has done very little to provide a contrast from the Republican platform. Additionally, he has a strong base in the northern panhandle, this state is trending red and went for McCain, and there is a GOP/anti-incumbent wind in the air. His website, however, is tragic.
Whatever happens, it is going to be a close race. Any time before the last few years when the national GOP went completely teabag insane and drove me from their ranks, and I would have voted for McKinley without a second thought. I don’t think I can vote for a Republican and give John Boehner and those clowns any power whatsoever, which really is a shame, because my gut tells me McKinley is a decent man. Having said that, Mike Oliverio has his work cut out for him to get me to hold my nose and vote for him. Considering I don’t know much about him except for the things I don’t like (the anti-choice stance, the anti-cap and trade, the willingness to sabotage leadership before even being elected), maybe there is something there I can rally around. I guess I have no other choice.