May 12th, 2010
09:38 AM ET
13 years ago

Voters sweep another lawmaker out of office

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rep. Alan Mollohan lost Tuesday in the Democratic primary in West Virginia."]Washington (CNN) – West Virginia Rep. Alan Mollohan lost Tuesday in the Democratic primary, the second congressional incumbent to fall in less than a week.

Mollohan, who was first elected to Congress in 1982, was dogged by ethical questions that opened the door for state Sen. Mike Oliverio to challenge the entrenched Democrat. Unofficial results posted on the West Virginia Secretary of State's website Wednesday morning shows that Oliverio received 33,174 votes to Mollohan's 26,007.

"For more than 25 years, Representative Alan Mollohan has been fighting to preserve West Virginia jobs, strengthen the economy and improve quality of life for the families he represents," Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "We thank him for his tireless service to the people of West Virginia, especially his dedication to strengthening economic development and high-tech and aerospace services.

"This was a tough and spirited primary process and we are confident that this historically Democratic seat will remain Democratic this November," Van Hollen added.

As of early Wednesday, Mollohan had not issued a written statement regarding his loss, but The Charleston Gazette quoted the 14-term Democrat as saying that the anti-incumbent mood in the country helped lead to his defeat.

"It's true there is definitely a wave out there, a national mood and wave," the congressman said to the newspaper.

On Saturday, Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, lost his bid for re-election after failing to receive enough support at the GOP state convention to qualify for the primary next month. Bennett, who was first elected in 1992, and also pointed to voter anger as a contributing factor in his loss.

In West Virginia, Oliverio portrayed himself as a more conservative Democrat, and some outside groups suggested that Mollohan's support of President Obama's health care bill helped lead to his defeat.

Mollohan had been the focus of an investigation into whether he benefited financially from nonprofit organizations in his state. But the Justice Department informed Mollohan in January that no charges would be filed as a result of their investigation. At the time, the congressman described the questions about his ethics as "a politically-motivated assault on my character."

Former West Virginia Republican Party Chairman David McKinley emerged from a crowded GOP primary to capture his party's nomination with 12,440 votes, according to the unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State's website.

Voters in Mollohan's congressional district, located in the northern part of the state, picked GOP presidential nominee John McCain over Democratic nominee Barack Obama in 2008 and President Bush over Democratic nominee John Kerry in 2004.

Filed under: 2010 • Popular Posts • West Virginia
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. JES

    The voters are tired of the same old crap.

    Look out for 2010 and 2012.

    They want to reform Wall Street and they can't even balance our budget.

    May 12, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. Ron in California

    When politicians don't listen to their constituents what do they expect....something about of the people , by the people and for the people ring a bell? These guys et into office and set their wn agenda or adopt that of some other loon. Godd riddance.

    May 12, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. j

    I think Demos and Pepubs will stay within their parties, however, just vote the incumbent out of office.

    May 12, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  4. scott

    the dems wil b able 2 keep the seat 4 sure now!

    May 12, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  5. Right Leaning Independent

    When you go against the people's will, you will be removed by the people! Good Job West Virginians!! Who's next???

    May 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Dean

    All incumbents need to go.

    May 12, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. joe

    He and Bennett are the first of many, Democrats and Republicans who will feel the wrath of the American public in this years elections. All those running this year should start looking for jobs now. The American people are fed up with Washington and those in office should all fear the ballot box. Dont know if theones being elected will be any better, but we must start somewhere.

    May 12, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    America is finally realizing that we do not have to settle for status quo!

    We DO have term limits is called........... VOTING!

    May 12, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Greg

    The Republicans Party plan back fired. For months Republicans have fueled the anger of Americans that are dissatisfied with the economy and the loss of jobs. They were trying to make this election a referendum on the Democrats and Obama. They didn't expect it would hurt sitting Republicans as well. The damage is done and sitting Republicans are losing their seats if their not catering to the Tea Party of the far Right. Encouraging their extreme Ideas and even misleading them on issues to make them more infuriated. So furious they can take no more bi-partisan approaches even from Republicans. On the other hand, Independents and conservative Democrats aren't extremely to the right on policy and issues. How does the Republican Party Win an Election pandering to the Far Right without Independent and Conservative Support? Did the Republican Party box themselves into a corner?

    May 12, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. John , PA

    Very few will be voting for those in the Democratic Party. If the election were today, the community organizer / social worker president would not win. The Republicans can hang the economy and health care on the Democrats and we can vote them out of office. In 1994 historians say the Democrat loses was a slaughter; the 2010 and 2012 election cycle is going to be a massacre.

    Let’s review
    higher unemployment
    higher taxes
    higher home foreclosure rate
    tax evading Democratic Party
    tax evading Obama administration
    the “Porkulus” Spending bill
    out of control budget
    health care reform disaster
    3 terrorist attacks in the USA since Obama took office

    After the 2010 election, the next Conservative Congresses first duty will be to hold all of the existing or retired Representatives or Senators accountable as criminals, It jail time for these criminals !

    May 12, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Stephen Sundahl

    To be honest, the main reason Mollohan lost was actually name recognition. Oliverio is a well known name in the 1st district, and Mollohan's never really had to mount a serious campaign and get his name out there. The issues don't really matter here in West Virginia, Mollohan was by no means a liberal Democrat, this makes little real difference in the big scheme of things.

    I wouldn't look to this as an indicator of anything, Mollohan just wants to blame the 'anti-incumbent wave' because he can't admit that he's always been unpopular. Oliverio was just the first REAL opponent to face him, and faced with a real challenger, Mollohan lost.

    May 12, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  12. Modinde

    First Bennett and now Mollohan, wait till November. Vote out all the incumbents!!! Let's fix our country. Exit polls showed that the votes for health care and stimilus was the kiss of death.

    May 12, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    That's right! No Incumbents! Congress You Are Fired!
    These representatives have not represented the people, they have represented their party, special interests groups, Global Corporations and lobbyists only.

    This fall 2010 use your vote to Fire Congress! No matter what party they belong to.

    May 12, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. John Q.

    I hope more hit the streets soon... the status quo isn't working. Good move West Virginia.

    May 12, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "This was a tough and spirited primary process and we are confident that this historically Democratic seat will remain Democratic this November,"

    Guess again.

    May 12, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. stevegee

    Good riddance!

    The American People are going to clean house this year - all the Democrats better update their resumes because they're going to join the unemployment lines!

    May 12, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. matt

    Great for WV... We need to keep kicking out the old and bring in new "THAT WILL LISEN"

    May 12, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Wisconsinite

    May the best DEMOCRAT win!

    May 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Jacq

    Artur Davis.of Alabama is next

    May 12, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Tommy Young

    Regardless of his party, 28 years in office is long enough.

    May 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Just a small mention of ethics problems here. If he was Republican it would be a blaring article, Another viivd demonstration of the bias of the biased media.

    May 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Rickster

    Every politician who voted for this should be thrown out of office:

    The Congressional Budget Office has doubled the estimated increases of some costs resulting from the sweeping health care reform legislation passed this year.

    A CBO report said the estimated rise in discretionary spending – which is spending requiring annual congressional authorization – over the first 10 years under the new legislation could exceed
    $115 billion.

    On March 11, exactly two months earlier, the non-partisan CBO reported the estimated increase for discretionary spending could exceed $55 billion.

    And, once again, here we are stuck with another government boondoggle because democrats are too stupid to figure out what is best for the never ends.

    May 12, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Brenda

    These voters lean conservative, they voted for Bush and McCain.

    Mollohan was not just booted out due to ethics problems/concerns-–it was also due to his support for the health care disaster, and his support for Cap and Tax.

    Mollohan got into office when the Democratic Party still had some integrity--before the Party was taken over by progressives/socialists.

    There is a very good chance that this seat will be won by a Republican.

    May 12, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |