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EDITORIAL: A Good Year Coming for WV Republicans--But Then What?
Take a look at the tea leaves in this heavy brew for Democrats in 2014 Congressional and legislative races:
- West Virginia has one of the lowest popularity ratings for President Obama of any state in the country. Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters have registered their dissent with force each time Obama came up on the primary or general election ballots in 2008 and 2012.
- Republicans drew within a handful of votes of taking the majority in the House of Delegates in the 2012 election, striking fear in the House Democratic Majority there. If you don't get your taxes raised this year out of Charleston, you can thank the robust numbers of Republicans present, keeping the Democrats' spending habits down a bit more.
- West Virginia's economy, along with government responses to disasters like the Charleston water supply issue, have not endeared the Democratic majority to voters in recent months. Little or no blame can be assessed to Republicans who have not had the power to try anything different.
- The caliber of Republican candidates has not only improved--in many sections of the ballot, they are simply better, more seasoned individuals with real experience. In a previous editorial this week, we saw an example of this in Republican State Senate candidate Mike Queen of Harrison County--until lately a lifelong Democrat, now changing parties, a real coup for the Republicans. Queen is well-known in his home area, has sound business experience, and recently served as President of the Harrison County School Board.
So if Republican candidates here can run strong campaigns, all indications point to a significant Republican victory this fall, with the GOP taking over the West Virginia House of Delegates for the first time in...eight decades!
Political strategists will tell you that a party that benefits from voter disappointment or anger in their rival party should just lay low and let the wrath of the voters fall on the other party's heads. No need to muddy the water, floating ideas that may not be popular and giving an angry populace yet another target.
However, we believe that there ought to be some initiatives that the WV GOP believe in so much that they will share them with the public ahead of the elections. That way, a real mandate from the voters can be the result, not just voters repudiating the state's Democratic leadership.
We look forward to hearing the GOP's ideas on major issues facing this state throughout this election year. 2014 is their big chance to make an impression on the public. They should tell us what they would do differently in state government should they assume power.