Democrats in West Virginia have pretty much taken their two Senate seats for granted for a long time now. (And with good reason, since the last time the GOP held those spots, Ike was still president.) They’ve also had a fair bit of success in hanging on to at least some of their three congressional seats in the modern era. This stands in contrast to a seemingly constant ideological shift to the right among voters, demonstrated by the fact that no Democrat presidential candidate has carried the state since Bill Clinton. This shift may be setting the stage for some very interesting events in the 2014 cycle, with the retirement of Senator Jay Rockefeller and two spirited House races shifting into high gear. Specifically in WV-02, Roll Call recently rated that contest on their list of the most fascinating races to watch.
For some reason, they seem to think this is good news for Democrats, but the district still leans Red and the Dems have hooked their wagon to Nick Casey. Casey looks like a terrible choice, given the current frame of mind of West Virginia’s voters. He’s a former lobbyist for progressive groups such as FarinessWV.org and is well known to voters from his time as the incendiary chairman of the state Democratic Party. His long standing support for the President, Obamacare, gun control and a raft of other liberal touchstones doesn’t seem as if it will play well with the more socially conservative base in his district. Further, he’s sharing a media market with the 3rd district and may have a negative impact on their Democratic candidate, Nick Rahall.