November 1st, 2010
05:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Democrats cautiously optimistic in West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (CNN) - Democratic strategists are becoming increasingly confident that the West Virginia Senate seat of the late Robert Byrd will remain in Democratic hands, believing that momentum is on the side of popular Governor Joe Manchin.

Former President Bill Clinton made his second appearance in the state on Monday to help bolster Manchin's prospects, at the same time that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned for Republican candidate John Raese. Sarah Palin also visited the state on Saturday to stump for Raese.

"It is the day after Halloween, but there are still a lot of people going around in costumes. If you want a treat, you have to reject a trick," Clinton said. "You don't want to be played for a sucker. You know this man; you've seen what he's done."

"I'm looking out over this beautiful crowd, I'm seeing all these mountain mommas," Palin said to the crowd in Charleston, having a little fun with lyrics from John Denver's iconic song about the state, "Country Roads."

The high profile attention garnered by the Senate race in West Virginia appears to be paying off. According to the Secretary of State's office, over 103,000 residents have voted early, which is the third highest tally in state history.

According to the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, 54% of the ballots cast during the 15-day early voting period came from registered Democrats, mirroring the statewide percentage of people registered to that party.

"That's a good turnout level for us, despite all the gloom and doom predictions," said Derek Scarbro, spokesman for the West Virginia Democratic Party.

Ann Dungeon, chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party, is organizing a volunteer force of nearly two dozen to call Republicans and independents, making sure they cast a vote.

But Dungeon concedes that good old fashioned get out the vote techniques can be tricky in West Virginia, known for scattered communities separated by mountains and valleys.

"We have a lot of rural area in Jefferson County (Harpers Ferry) and quite a few residences on the mountain that are very hard to walk," Dungeon said.

Filed under: 2010 • Democrats • West Virginia
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    I'm glad Clinton knows the state of the candidate he endorses.

    November 1, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Kenneth Close

    They should be they have more money from the government than most other states per what they contribute. Yea Bird

    November 1, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Steve

    As a native West Virginian, all I needed to hear were the words directly out of Raese's mouth. He said, and I quote, "I am a businessman. My job is making money, not creating jobs."

    November 1, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. stufthis

    It looks like the republican 'suppress the vote' strategy is not working in West Virginia.

    November 1, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Rickster

    This guy has run so fast and so far away from President Ears and Vice-President Hairplugs and their Socialist agenda that he now has a shot to win.

    November 1, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Rachel

    If he wins he owes clinton.

    November 1, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Rachel

    If he wins he has Bill to thank.

    November 1, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. stufthis

    Do you think West Virginians want the minimum wage law repealed? Maybe WV wants to eliminate mine safety.

    November 1, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  9. Death Panel Sarah

    ...and ReptiliCONS are known to be slippery...they could slide down those mountains!!!

    November 1, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. Monster Zero

    What the Entitlement Dembot's in West Virginia do not realize is that unless the GOP wins the Senate with their help, Obama, Reid and Pelosi will push Cap and Tax through the Senate and sign into law. This will result in more taxation, more regulatory requirements on coal and LOSS OF MORE WEST VIRGINIA JOBS. It is really quite simple you see, just look what they did with health care...

    November 1, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Thank God West Virginia knows Manchin as well as former President Bill Clinton because that other noise is just annoying noise. Besides that, Palin thinks she's better than WV anyway since she left her trailor.

    November 1, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |