Two Democrats not on the ballot crucial to West Virginia election
Demoratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
September 29th, 2011
04:36 PM ET
9 years ago

Two Democrats not on the ballot crucial to West Virginia election

Washington (CNN) - With five days left until a gubernatorial election in West Virginia, there's no let up in the campaign ad wars.

The Republican Governors Association is up with a new commercial that targets Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who faces off on October 4 against businessman Bill Maloney, the Republican nominee.

The RGA's new ad, which they say will run statewide through Tuesday's election, tries to tie Tomblin to President Barack Obama, with the narrator saying that "a majority of America's governors are fighting in court to stop Obamacare. But Earl Ray Tomblin is implementing Obamacare in West Virginia. Obamacare will jack up taxes on businesses. Destroy jobs. Stop Obama. Stop Tomblin from implementing Obamacare."

In the final television commercial of his campaign, Tomblin Wednesday went up on West Virginia airwaves Wednesday with an ad that highlights the support he's getting from Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow Democrat, former governor, and one of the most popular politicians in the state.

"Working together, we put our state's financial house in order," says Manchin in the ad, as he stands next to Tomblin.

The ad continues with Tomblin saying that since he took over as governor, after Manchin was elected to the U.S. Senate last year to fill the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, he's continued to cut taxes and balance the budget. The commercial concludes with Manchin saying that "Earl Ray is the right man to keep West Virginia on the right course for a better future."

Besides Maloney and Tomblin, the former state Senate president, three independent or third party candidates are also on the ballot. The winner will fill out the final year of Manchin's gubernatorial term.

Tomblin has won the major union endorsements, but just as important is the backing he's received from the state Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association, two groups that normally support GOP candidates.

Even though Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans in the state when it comes to voter identification, the race appears to getting interesting as the campaign comes to a close.

In the past two weeks, the ad wars in the contest have heated up, with commercials from the Democratic Governors Association characterizing Maloney as an out of touch businessman in one spot, and a greedy businessman in another ad. The Republican Governors Association has fired back with ads describing Tomblin as a career politician and suggesting that he's used his years in the state legislature to benefit his family's greyhound breeding business.

Because of heating up of the ad wars, and because of the Democrats' loss earlier this month in a special congressional election in a district long dominated by the party, the contest in West Virginia is now firmly in the national political spotlight.

"With less than a week left before the election, it seems Republicans are going all out in trying to tie Tomblin to President Obama. They believe this race isn't settled yet. They sense an opportunity," says Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

But if Tomblin wins, Gonzales says Democrats shouldn't see it as a great victory for the party.

"National Democrats shouldn't take much comfort in a Tomblin victory. Tomblin pulled together a coalition of the Chamber of Commerce, unions, and the NRA in order to survive. There aren't many other Democrats that will be able to do that in 2012," adds Gonzales.

Filed under: West Virginia
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. A Kickin` Donkey

    It really shows the arrogance of the Republican party, or their total disrespect for the intelligence of voters for the GOP to feel that railing against universal healthcare, in a state as poor as WVA, is the path to victory.

    When will these people vote their OWN self interests? Maybe it`ll take a white guy to explain to them how the GOP supported Massey Mines, which killed 29 of their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons by violating workplace safety rules & regulations. The same rules Democrats defend for to protect the WVA`ers. The same regulations that the GOP would abolish to allow corporate profits to go even higher while MORE lives were lost.

    September 29, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Whoosh

    No hope , no healthcare, no teeth, no sense, just keep voting against their own wellbeing. Go Figure...

    September 29, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. A Democrat in North Carolina

    All who voted for in 2008 for President obama but dont want to vote for him again in 2012, i challenge you go ahead and vote republicans, then see what you come up with just like in 2010 some went ahead and voted for the republicans that took control of the house and see where we are now at a standstill because the Republicans wants to take us backward. And beleive me i donot want to go back. So go ahead but im sticking with the Dems.

    September 30, 2011 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  4. Marry

    The lies the GOP/TP are spreading are unbelievable for any thinking person. However, there seem to be a lot of people that just do not want to find out what is true and vote against their own interest again, again, again… Not going to make things ever better if the voter is so gullible! So very sad!!!

    September 30, 2011 02:19 am at 2:19 am |