|Poll||Date||Sample||Maynard (R)||Rahall (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||44.0||56.0||Rahall +12.0|
|AAF/Ayers (R)||7/28 - 8/1||400 LV||37||53||Rahall +16|
|2008: Rahall (D) 67%, Gearheart (R) 33%||2008: McCain (R) 56%, Obama (D) 42%|
|2006: Rahall (D) 69%, Wolfe (R) 31%||2004: Bush (R) 53%, Kerry (D) 46%|
|2004: Rahall (D) 65%, Snuffer (R) 35%||2000: Gore (D) 51%, Bush (R) 47%
10/29/10 -- Rahall has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Maynard, and it seems to be working. At the end of the day, it was probably a mistake for Republicans to nominate a Supreme Court Justice who was tied closely to a coal company executive to run for this seat in coal country.
Southern West Virginia is what most people think of when they think of West Virginia. This is the heart of the state’s old coal country. During West Virginia’s early years these counties were heavily Republican, but with the arrival of the United Mine Workers in the 1920s, the counties began to swing toward the Democrats. The onset of the Great Depression permanently realigned the area, and the 3rd District and its predecessors have elected only Democrats since 1930s. It is still the most heavily Democratic district in the state, despite having given George W. Bush a seven-point margin and John McCain a thirteen-point win.
Nick Rahall has represented the 3rd since 1976. For a 17-term Congressman, Rahall is still relatively youthful; he was only twenty-seven years old during his first campaign. A fiscally populist, socially conservative member of Congress – a good fit for this district – he has faced a tough general election challenge only once. In 1990, after revelations that he had been arrested for driving under the influence in California and was being sued for unpaid gambling debts in Nevada, he held on with a bare 52 percent of the vote.
This year, Rahall may not be so fortunate. His opponent, former state Supreme Court Justice Elliott “Spike” Maynard will likely attack Rahall for his vote for the Democrats’ health care bill, his support of the stimulus, and his vote to raise the debt limit. Rahall will likely point to his decades of service, his stature as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, and his opposition to cap and trade legislation. Rahall is in for a tough race, and if things get bad enough for the Democrats, he may well lose.