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Every State. Every race. Right here.

This is number 36 in a planned series of 50 entries between now and November, looking at each of the 50 states in terms of every race on that state's ticket--Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senate, House, State legislatures--the whole dang coal mine! Special attention paid to identifying and promoting the most important contests per state.

Today’s entry is a special treat, as we get to inspect gorgeous congressional hopeful Anne Barth from stem to stern, as well as the rest of Robert Byrd’s home state of West Virginia.

It’s hard to understand why anyone would call West Virginia a "red state". Over the past two decades, the state has voted for a maximum of THREE Republicans to any major office. Those three are George W. Bush, US Representative Shelley "The Shrew" Capito, and Secretary of State Betty Ireland.  Two of those three are retiring from office at the end of the year, and the third is in the fight of her political life.

On the other hand, in Presidential elections, West Virginia appears to have gone from Uncompetitive blue to Uncompetitive Red in just two cycles, and it’s hard to explain how that can have happened, with Democrats still holding virtually every major office and one of the best political organizing machines there is.  Seems to me, the answer is not to reason why so much as to kick the camel’s nose out from under the tent as hard and as vigorously as possible.

BLOGS:  West Virginia Blue, featuring Kos’s own Carnacki:

PRESIDENT: :  Obama’s really going for West Virginia, which is good news. Here’s a link via wvablue to the WV Campaign for Change Director:

Additionally, I was all set this time a year ago to urge going to the mat to bring back West Virginia, a bedrock Blue state, into voting Democrat for President, just like I said in the last entry about Missouri.  The difference is, Missouri is ripe for the turning due to a new rockstar Senator, backlash against mismanagement by Republicans at the state level, and the willingness of the voters to at least consider Obama, who won the primary there. None of that is happening in West Virginia, which seems unalterably opposed to Obama personally, and it would be hard for me to advise putting much effort here beyond maybe a single appearance in Charleston with Anne Barth. Maybe not even that, because I can’t tell whether a stop there would help Barth or hurt her.  And in 36 diary entries, this is the first place I’ve said that.

If Obama is serious about winning West Virginia, it seems to me the only thing that might do it would be an all-out effort by the Clintons there, and possibly in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas—if they are willing to go that far.  Otherwise, it’s time to cut losses in Appalachia and focus on the eight firewall states—VA, OH, MO, CO, NV, FL, IN and NC, with some other "reach" states like the Dakotas, and some attempt at defense where needed, like NM.

I still don’t think Appalachia’s Obama problem is race-based, but I have yet to find an alternative motive for his lackluster performance here. Anyone with ideas, please chime in.

Also, I’m not writing off WV entirely. I think winning the SoS  position and the 2nd Congressional district will bring the entire state back in Democratic hands, which will help. The right time for the national candidate to go to the mat to win it back at the Presidential level will come; just not this year.

SENATE:  Jay Rockefeller (Inc D), Safe Democrat. Hasn’t been on the map even once, all year.


I’ll start off with the Secretary of State contest, the one statewide office presently held by a Republican. The incumbent is retiring and our nominee is local news anchor Natalie Tennant. Since the SOS is the one who counts the votes and declares and enforces the elections rules, it is a much sought after office by the corrupt, cheating Republicans, and the most likely office that the GOP will target in a blue state (compare with California, where one of Gropenfuhrer’s first acts as Governor was to appoint a Republican Secretary of State, who immediately tried to install Diebold machines in key swing counties. Fortunately, progressives stonewalled the project until we had the chance to vote the jerk out in 2006, but we must always be vigilant).  Since part of our mission is to stop the Elephant getting its trunk under the tent at all, this one is important.

Other than that, it’s smooth sailing for the non-federal offices, even though they’re all up this year. Governor Joe Manchin is expected to cruise to victory, which is nice ‘cause I’d be inclined to let him do it without progressive help regardless, due to his unforgivable failure to endorse Anne Barth for Congress.

Here are the campaign sites for Governor Manchin, State Auditor Glen Gainer, Treasurer John Perdue, Ag Commissioner Gus Douglass, and Attorney General Darrell McGraw.  All are Democrats, and all are safe.


Lower House:  72D, 28R. That’s almost a ¾ majority!

Senate:  23D, 11R. That’s more than 2/3 of the seats in this chamber, too. Unless YOUR legislature can override any veto without breaking a sweat, don’t go throwing stones at West Virginia, hear?


District 1—Alan Mollohan (Inc D). They tried to call him a Republican on ethics in 2006, and he didn’t even flinch. This year they aren’t bothering. Safe Democrat.

District 3—Nick-Joe Rahall (Inc D). Even safer Democrat than Mollohan. I don’t think he has a challenger at all. Every rural district needs a nice, folksy, progressive, pro-union, pro-worker Democrat with a name like Nick-Joe.

District 2—OK, HERE is THE BIG ONE for 2008, and not just by virtue of being the only one on the map, either. This is our big chance to get Shelley Capito, pretty much the only high profile Gooper in West Virginia and every inch a neocon nightmare, out of office. If we don’t, the day will come when Robert Byrd steps down, and then we’ll have a problem keeping Capito out of the US Senate.  Better to plug a small hole now than to dam a flood later.

If I had to pick only ONE GOP-held seat to flip this year, and all the others would stay Republican, I would easily pick...Darcy Burner in WA-08. But if I could pick one seat to flip and let the chips fall where they may, I would pick this one. Because our mission is to scour West Virginia of Republicans—if we can’t turn it away from the national ticket, we can at least make it internally one-party Democrat. And because Having Anne Barth around in congress would make C-SPAN much more watchable. She’s the most perfect physical specimen I’ve ever seen in politics.

All right, maybe you’re more the Scott Kleeb type, but indulge me and my schoolboy crush for a moment. Kleeb’s been getting all the attention here, and Barth has at least as much warmth, charm and raw hottitude as previous successful Kos pinups Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin and Kirsten Gillibrand.

I was smitten the moment I saw that picture. Can you blame me?

And she’s more than just a pretty face. Barth has been mentored by none other than Senator Robert Byrd, and has been his State director since 1992. She’s smart, effective, and connected, and can get things done as a member of the Majority Party and legislative partner to her friend Senator Byrd and the rest of the solidly blue WV delegation, not to mention working with Obama. As opposed to someone who might have been effective when the GOP controlled Congress and the White House, with her good buddy George Bush, but whose time has now passed.

Come on, West Virginia! Please Give Anne Barth a chance! She’ll do you proud!

Here’s wvablue’s link to the latest on the most important race in the state:

And here’s her photo gallery! She’s a Mary Ann, not a Ginger, and that smile could melt glaciers and charm tax auditors, loan officers and circus dwarfs! I’m watching more CSPAN if she’s going to join the House, aren’t you?

Barth’s momentum is deceptive. She got a late start, only jumping into the race after a previous candidate dropped out at the tenth hour or so; and so her fundraising is behind. But she’s been catching up. You can help her. Please click on her page and make a donation to turn the West Virginia delegation 5 for 5. Tell them Kos and the Admiral sent you. You may get a smile from Representative Barth and a new park or a highway in your district from Senator Byrd!

REDISTRICTING WEST VIRGINIA: The Democrats have run the table on redistricting for so long that there’s little room for improvement. The southern, rounded end of the state is slightly more Democratic than the north, and the East panhandle (Martinsburg, etc), where Carnacki works so tirelessly to get out the vote for Barth and Obama, is the most conservative part of the existing Second District, so it might make sense, if Capito’s still around after the next census, to leave the 1st as is, and split the 2nd and 3rd into an east and a west district, instead of a central and a south, thus giving the east end the panhandle and the bluest counties.  If the local Democrats think I’m wrong, I defer to them. They know what they’re doing.

Previous diaries in this series.  Beginning with today's entry, I’m including THE BIG ONE for each state in the ever-longer list of previous diaries, to remind us where the high priorities are:

Delaware(lower house of the State Legislature):

Arkansas(Obama, for want of any other contest):

Illinois(Dan Seals, IL-10):

Texas, Part One(Michael Skelly, TX-07):

Texas, Part Two(Rick Noriega, TX-Sen):

Utah(building infrastructure):

Massachusetts(Using our majority to govern well):

North Carolina(Kay Hagan, NC-Sen):

Hawaii(Using our majority to govern well; also, preparation for Governor, possible open Senate race in 2010):

Mississippi(Ronnie Musgrove, MS-Sen):

Oregon(Jeff Merkley, OR-Sen):

Ohio(Tie: Obama, and State Legislature, both houses):

Maryland(Frank Kratovil, MD-01):

North Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):

Alabama(Bobby Bright, AL-02):

California, Part one(Charles Brown, CA-04):

California, Part two(Russ Warner, CA-26):

Vermont(Gaye Symington, VT-Gov):

Iowa(Rob Hubler, IA-05):


Wyoming(Gary Trauner, WY-AL):

Pennsylvania (State Legislature, both houses):

New Mexico(Harry Teague, NM-02):

Kentucky(Bruce Lunsford, KY-SEN):

Nebraska(Scott Kleeb, NB-SEN):

Friggin’ IDAHO (Larry LaRocco, ID-Sen):

Maine (CHEERS to Tom Allen, ME-Sen):

Wisconsin (State Legislature, both houses):

New Jersey(Linda Stender, NJ-07):

Oklahoma (Andrew Rice, OK-Sen):

South Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):


Georgia(Jim Martin, GA-Sen):

Rhode Island(governing well):

Michigan(State legislature, upper house):

Alaska(Mark Begich, AK-Sen):

Missouri (Jay Nixon, MO-Gov):

Originally posted to AdmiralNaismith on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:56 AM PDT.


As part of his official duties, who will Joe Biden be required to shoot in the face?

20%9 votes
4%2 votes
13%6 votes
0%0 votes
13%6 votes
2%1 votes
11%5 votes
11%5 votes
2%1 votes
4%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
6%3 votes
4%2 votes

| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, Recs, and pictures of Anne Barth (10+ / 0-)

    Did I mention I'm smitten with Anne Barth?

    I don't worship her or anything; I'm just a wee bit fond of the ground she walks on.

    PALINTOLOGY: The study of John McCain's campaign for President

    by AdmiralNaismith on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:58:17 AM PDT

  •  AdmiralNaismith (4+ / 0-)

    Now that's my kind of diary.

    There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. S. Holmes

    by Carnacki on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:59:39 AM PDT

    •  Glad you noticed it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've admired your work and your diaries for the longest time. The thought of you working for Anne (which makes both of you lucky devils) makes me feel that much more confident about winning the district.

      Wish me luck in my special project of getting Jeff Merkley elected in Oregon. He's not as good looking as Anne Barth, but he'll do important good things in the US Senate.

      PALINTOLOGY: The study of John McCain's campaign for President

      by AdmiralNaismith on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 09:08:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Barth's a great candidate (3+ / 0-)

    Her opponent, the incumbent Shelley Moore Capito is deep in the pockets of Big Oil and is rarely seen in the district.

    There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. S. Holmes

    by Carnacki on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 09:00:42 AM PDT

    •  Carnacki (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdmiralNaismith, Carnacki

      Have you seen Shelly's "oooohhhhh the Cubans are drilling right off of Florida.  Be afriad, very afraid!" commercial yet?  

      I wish I could vote for Anne, but Nicky-Joe is my guy.

    •  From your lips.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdmiralNaismith, Carnacki

      But Shelley yard signs are running about 10 to 1 against Barth signs in Randolph County.

      I think the 2nd district is gerrymandered to support Moore Capito...

      •  Gerrymandered GOP (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Democrats ran the table on redistricting in 2001. Why would they create a Republican district?

        Mollohan and Rahall are Representatives For Life, but it seems to me that if either of them retired next year, we might not find it smooth sailing holding on to those districts either.

        PALINTOLOGY: The study of John McCain's campaign for President

        by AdmiralNaismith on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 09:11:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It may not have been intentional (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          gerrymandering -- but it was effective, nonetheless.

          Putting the GOP-leaning wealthy exurbs of the eastern panhandle with the media-impoverished center of the state may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's mainly worked out well for the Bushites.

          I can't speak for the other districts: they don't have to bear the Shame of "Rubber Stamp Shelley" like we do. I don't know why Moore-Capito has such a hold on the Second -- I suspect at least part of it is the firm grip all her corporate connections have on the public megaphone around here.

          I wish I had more optimism about the Barth campaign. I think she's wonderful, and would make a much better rep than SMC: I send her contributions all the time.

          But without some rising-tide factor from Obama, Ms. Barth seems to be going down the same road as the... two? three? previous contestants. Especially since the good-ol-boy local Dems, led by Smilin' Joe Manchin, are noticeably sitting on their hands this time out.

          I'd love to know what SMC has on them...

  •  Barth vs. Capito (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, llywrch

    Anne Barth with supporters

    Image Hosted by<br/>

    A Capito supporter. (Actual Capito sightings are so rare that the conservationists want to put her on the endangered species list.)

    Image Hosted by<br/>

    There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. S. Holmes

    by Carnacki on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 09:10:56 AM PDT

  •  I'm the only one who voted for Nugent?? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    C'mon, people!

    Thx again, Admiral.

  •  One other thing about West Virginia (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WV Democrat, llywrch

    don't know how it affects politics, but...

    ...a few years back, I took a Greyhound bus trip across the United States, west to east, and was absolutely stunned at how every dang stop we made, from SLC, to Laramie, to Quad Cities to Steubenville to Wilkes Barre all looked exactly alike, with the same highway strips with the exact same motel chain signs, gas station signs, generic auto body shops and fast food franchise signs. Every last one of them. If I had taken pictures with a list of every state I went through and asked you to match pictures with states, you couldn't have done it, except maybe by using some clues like the presence of a palm tree or a sign with a street name. It was dang depressing.

    There was only one exception to the sea of uniform sameness in the towns with bus stops, and that exception was...Wheeling, West Virginia. Now that was a pretty town, with boardwalks lining the store fronts, benches carved in patterns, several mom-and-pop stores that were not franchises with conforming signs, and buildings with distinctive architecture. It was one of the high points of my view of America.

    PALINTOLOGY: The study of John McCain's campaign for President

    by AdmiralNaismith on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 09:21:53 AM PDT

  •  When there are moments that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't stand to look at anything relating to politics, these are always the exception.  Thanks for educating us AdmiralNaismith.  Now hurry up and do New York so I can make some vital comment.  

    P.S.: Wow Anne Barth is hot.  Hope she wins.

    I am proud to admit that I come from one of the districts that had the least votes for George W. Bush in the entire country.

    by ThePrometheusMan on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:04:15 PM PDT

  •  So what is the overall liberal consensus on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Joe Manchin?  When I heard first of him I thought: "Hey a popular Democratic governor in a red (blue in Congress) state?"  Besides his not backing Anne Barth, are there any other problems with him?

    I am proud to admit that I come from one of the districts that had the least votes for George W. Bush in the entire country.

    by ThePrometheusMan on Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 08:09:09 PM PDT

    •  Well, I don't like him much (0+ / 0-)

      But I speak only for myself, and mostly because he has failed to support Barth even though his own re-election is in the bag.  Byrd, Rockefeller, Mollohan and Rahall are all firmly in the Barth camp. Frankly, I think every Democrat in West Virginia needs to be spending most to all of the campaign between Charleston and Martinsburg doing whatever it takes to get rid of Capito. She is the ONLY major Republican in the State.

      See, if you get one thing out of my diary besides GET BEHIND BARTH, get this: West Virginia is not a Red State. It is one of the most solidly blue states there is at the state level, with no Republicans at all except the outgoing SoS. That's it. Capito is the only Gooper in a five member Congressional delegation, and the state went Democrat in three of the last five Presidential elections, and will go Red this year due to a specific animosity toward Obama in particular, not because it hates Democrats. If that's "red", then Massachusetts must be purple.

      PALINTOLOGY: The study of John McCain's campaign for President

      by AdmiralNaismith on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 07:18:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very pretty, inside and out n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

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