Entries in West Virginia (12)


Sen. Jay Rockefeller Will Not Seek Reelection

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia will announce his plans on Friday to retire and not seek reelection, aides confirm to ABC News.

The longtime senator, 75, will make his announcement at 11 a.m. in Charleston, W. Va., joined by family and staff.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Doesn’t ‘Blame People’ for Voting Felon Over Obama in W.Va.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that it’s understandable why 40 percent of Democrats in this month’s West Virginia presidential primary opted for a convicted felon serving time in a Texas prison over incumbent President Barack Obama.

“When you’re out of work, man, it’s a depression. And a lot of people are still hurting because of this god-awful recession we inherited that cost 8.4 million jobs before we could really get going. And so I don’t blame people; they’re frustrated, they’re angry,” Biden said in an interview with WTOV-TV in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio.

“At the end of the day, they’re going to decide, is the way back to their employment, is the way back to them being able to have a job and raise a family, is it under the value-set and the ideas of Romney, or is it under ours?” he said. “And we feel confident we’ll do just fine.”

Biden’s response -- that he doesn’t “blame people” for supporting the felon -- diverges from the case that some national Democrats made in the wake of the vote, suggesting that the outcome likely reflected racial opposition to Obama.  It also seemed to part with efforts by top Democratic leaders to project a sense of party unity as the campaign heads toward November.

While Obama has never been widely popular in West Virginia, the fact that Keith Russell Judd -- an inmate at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas -- scored roughly 49,000 votes to Obama’s more than 67,000 raised some eyebrows.

Judd is serving time for extortion and threats made at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Neither he nor Obama campaigned in the state ahead of the May 8 vote.

Obama campaign officials have pointed out that in spite of Judd, Obama won more overall votes in the primary than did Mitt Romney, who won roughly 51,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prison Inmate Gives Obama a Run for His Money in West Virginia

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- Keith Judd might have a future in presidential politics, provided he gets out of prison first.

Judd, who is currently serving time in a Beaumont, Texas, federal jail, collected 40 percent of the vote Tuesday in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

The outcome was probably not so much a referendum on how much West Virginian Democrats like Judd, who was convicted of making threats at the University of Mexico 20 years ago, than how much they dislike President Obama, who wound up winning the primary with 60 percent of the vote.

Obama lost the state to Republican nominee John McCain in 2008 and the campaign expects he won't win West Virginia this November when Mitt Romney becomes his opponent.

Judd got on the ballot in West Virginia by paying a $2,500 entry fee and filing a notarized certification of announcement.  However, he'll have no delegates representing him at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this September because no one filed to become one for the inmate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Takeaways for Tuesday’s Primary Battles

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The GOP may have their presumptive nominee, but Tuesday’s voting contests will still hold important clues to the overall outlook for the GOP -- and in Wisconsin for both parties -- in the months ahead.

Presidential primary contests will take place Tuesday in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.  Primaries in North Carolina and West Virginia could indicate Mitt Romney’s support level in a geographic region he has previously failed to carry.

There are also a slew of important races further down the ticket on Tuesday, with Indiana holding a closely watched Senate primary, Wisconsin holding their Democratic primary for their recall election, and North Carolina’s ballot including a same-sex marriage referendum.

Here’s a look at the top five things to watch out for:

1. Indiana Senate

It’s likely that the presidential primary will be the secondary motivation for many Indiana voters on Tuesday.  The primary battle between six-term incumbent Richard Lugar and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock is sure to be a driving force for Hoosier voters.  The latest polling showed Lugar trailing Mourdock by double digits, though Mourdock’s lead decreased slightly when “leaners” -- voters who said they might change their mind before Tuesday -- were factored out.

2. Wisconsin’s Democratic Primary

Wisconsin’s presidential primary may have come and gone, but there’s another race in Wisconsin that’s garnering most of the public’s attention: the recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  On Tuesday, voters will take to the polls to select the Democratic nominee to face off against Walker in the June 5 recall.   Recent polls showed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with a strong lead over former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.  Polls also showed Barrett, who ran against Walker for governor in 2010, in a dead heat with Walker.  Falk trails Walker in the polls.

3. North Carolina’s Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

A proposed constitutional amendment is up for a vote in North Carolina.  The proposed legislation decrees that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.”  If passed, this amendment -- Amendment One -- would not only outlaw same-sex marriage in the state (same-sex marriage is not currently legal in N.C.), it would ban any other legal union besides marriage for all couples -- gay and straight.  Polling shows the legislation is likely to pass.

4. Romney’s performance in North Carolina, West Virginia

The one region of the country that has alluded Romney during the primary cycle is the South.  The presumptive GOP nominee has claimed victories in the Northeast, the West and the Midwest, but he has yet to claim victory in a southern state besides Virginia, where several of his competitors failed to qualify for the ballot.  With Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both gone from the race, Romney will carry North Carolina and West Virginia on Tuesday, but the question remains as to how much of the vote he’ll actually receive.

5. Those delegate numbers

Romney has 856 delegates so far, ABC News projects, a little less than 300 shy of the magic 1,144 a candidate needs to officially win the GOP’s nomination.  In Tuesday’s contests, 132 total delegates are at stake, each of which will be doled out proportionally, meaning it is mathematically possible for Romney to fall short of claiming each and every delegate.

Even if Romney does manage to pick up every delegate in Tuesday’s contest, he will still end the night with only 988 delegates.  Depending on Tuesday’s performance -- and his performance in upcoming states like Arkansas, Kentucky and Oregon -- the earliest Romney could hit 1,144 is by the Texas primary, on May 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin Wins West Virginia Governor’s Race

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON) -- Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin prevailed over Republican Bill Maloney in Tuesday’s special election in West Virginia to fill the last 14 months of now-Sen. Joe Manchin’s gubernatorial term.

With 84 percent of precincts reporting, Tomblin led by 6,108 votes, beating Maloney 49 percent to 47 percent.

Tomblin has served as acting governor since Manchin vacated the seat last November after winning a special election to fill the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat.

Though Democrats held on to the governor’s mansion Tuesday night, there was a silver lining for the GOP. Republicans were able to draw on the unpopularity of President Obama to make the contest much tighter than expected.

Democrats hold a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage over Republicans in the state, but low turnout for a mid-October, off-year election virtually erased that Democratic edge. There has been a Democrat in the governor’s mansion since 1996, although West Virginia has voted strongly for Republicans in the past three presidential races.

Tomblin will have little time to enjoy his victory, before he will have to again ramp up the campaign machine to defend the governor’s mansion in 2012.

Throughout the contest Republicans tried to paint Tomblin as a career politician who supported Obama’s policies while Democrats tried to portray Maloney as an out-of-touch millionaire who moved jobs out of the state.

Tomblin has served in the state legislature for nearly four decades. Maloney is a former drilling company executive who has never held public office.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


West Virginians Head to Polls for Special Governor’s Election

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- In a race that has continually narrowed in the past few months, West Virginia acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will attempt to make his stay in the governor’s mansion official Tuesday in a special election against Republican businessman Bill Maloney.

Tomblin, the former state Senate president, began the race with a significant lead in the polls, but his edge his dwindled after the Republican Governors Association began running a series of ads linking Tomblin to President Obama’s embattled health care plan.

The RGA has poured $3.4 million into the race, according to the Washington Post. And while the RGA has not released the exact price tag on the ad buys, they ran during Sunday football games in the D.C. media market, an undoubtedly pricey slot.

According to the Post, a group allied with the Democratic Governors Association has spent about $2.4 million to support Tomblin, who has served as acting governor since former Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin won a special election in November for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat in Congress.

Tomblin campaign spokesman Chris Stadelman said “the gap has certainly narrowed” since the RGA ads started running about two weeks ago. Stadelman said the race is "certainly going to be close."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


W. Virginia Governor’s Race Tightens in Weeks Before Special Election

Comstock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) -- While the nation begins to focus its collective microscope on the 2012 presidential race, West Virginians have set their sights on the state’s gubernatorial special election, for which early voting begins Wednesday.

In a state that voted Republican in the past three presidential elections, the Democratic candidate, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, still has a slight edge in the polls over his Republican rival, businessman Bill Maloney, although Ray’s lead has been cut in half in the past month.

Tomblin, the president of the state Senate, became the acting governor last November after former Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin won a special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s seat.

Republican Governors Association spokesman Mike Schrimpf said that for Democrats to lose the governor seat that Manchin gave up would be “devastating on its face.”

But as the race enters the home stretch before the Oct. 4 election, Maloney’s campaign has stepped up its efforts to link Tomblin with the national branch of his party. The Republican Governors Association has dropped almost $770,000 on the West Virginia race, according to the West Virginia Gazzette.

Democratic Governor Association spokesman Lis Smith said Republicans’ attempt to tie Tomblin to national Democrats is “a real stretch.” The DGA has spent upward of $630,000 on the race, according to the Gazzette report.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Manchin Breaks with Democrats Again, This Time on Debt Ceiling

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two weeks ago, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin broke with his party in the budget debate, voting against the Democrats’ spending proposal and arguing that President Obama “has failed to lead this debate.”

On Monday, he was at it again. In a speech at the University of Charleston, Sen. Manchin said he will vote against raising the debt ceiling -- as the administration has requested -- unless his vote is linked to a plan to fix the nation’s soaring deficits.

“We must get our fiscal house in order. We must be honest about what we value and what we need to spend your taxpayer dollars on – not what just sounds good,” Manchin said. “I have never put together a budget – be it my family's or as governor – that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had. That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess.”

The administration has urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling before the nation hits its red ink limit sometime between April 15 and May 31, warning that a dire situation would result if lawmakers fail to act.

Twenty-three GOP senators have vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the White House agrees to tackle entitlement programs in the ongoing budget talks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Manchin Rips Obama For Failing To Lead In Spending Fight

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, ripped President Obama on Tuesday for failing to lead as lawmakers in Congress fight over how to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trying to set up votes on both parties' spending proposals -- the Democrats' plan to cut $6.5 billion and the GOP plan to cut about $50 billion more than that -- Manchin denounced the votes as nothing more than "political theater" and said he will oppose both measures.

The Democrats' plan, he argued on the Senate floor, "doesn’t go far enough" and "utterly ignores our fiscal reality," while the Republicans' proposal is an "even more flawed measure." Both measures are destined to fail in the chamber because neither will reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance.

"Why are we engaging in this political theater? Why are we voting on partisan proposals that we know will fail?" Manchin asked. "Why are we doing this when the most powerful person in these negotiations -- our president -- has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he is willing to fight for?"

"The debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations -- and right now that's not happening," he added.

"The bottom line is this," Manchin concluded. "The president is the leader of this great nation, and when it comes to an issue of significant national importance, the president must lead. Not the majority leader or speaker, but the president."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senator Misses Historic Votes for Holiday Party

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There was one Democratic senator who missed Saturday’s crucial votes on Capitol Hill: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who was elected just last month. Manchin was at a holiday party when the Senate finally passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal and took one last shot at the DREAM Act immigration bill.

“While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break,” said Manchin spokesperson Sara Payne Scarbro. “However, he has been clear on where he stands on the issues.”

Manchin does not support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because of concerns about the “the timing and the impact of the repeal's implementation on our front line combat troops during a time of war.” He did not support the DREAM Act because he believed it should have required the completion of a degree.

In contrast, Manchin's colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, elected to stay on the Hill to vote, even though he is set to have surgery for prostate cancer on Monday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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