Primary Election: May 8th, 2018
|RCP Average||5/10 - 5/22||--||--||48.5||43.0||Manchin +5.5|
|GravisGravis||5/22 - 5/22||543 LV||4.2||53||40||Manchin +13|
|WPAi (R)WPAi (R)||5/10 - 5/10||400 LV||4.9||44||46||Morrisey +2|
5/14/18 -- Democrats didn’t get the opponent for Sen. Joe Manchin that they were hoping for, as disgraced coal company president Don Blankenship came in third place in the Republican primary. Instead, Manchin will face off against Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Manchin is a reasonably conservative Democrat and a decent fit for the state, but the rapidly shifting partisanship here cannot be denied. In the end, his fate might be akin to that of Charles Percy, a popular, moderate Republican Senator from Illinois, who nevertheless lost his bid for a fourth term in an increasingly Democratic state faced with an increasingly conservative Republican Party. This is likely to be Manchin’s toughest race to date.
Like Kentucky, West Virginia is technically part of the 13 original Colonies by way of its initial attachment to Virginia. Unlike Kentucky though, which was separated from Virginia after the first Congress, it took West Virginia until 1863 to achieve independent status. When the Civil War arrived, West Virginians no longer needed the consent of the mother state to break off, and so 55 counties formed the state of Kanawha -- named after the Kanawha River; a month later it was renamed "West Virginia" and was subsequently admitted to the Union.
The state initially leaned toward the Republican Party, but during the Great Depression the arrival of the United Mine Workers caused a re-alignment. Until recently, the state almost exclusively sent Democrats to Washington.
In 2010, voters elected Gov. Joe Manchin, a popular social conservative who fits the state well, to replace legendary Sen. Robert Byrd. Manchin was elected to a full term in 2012. But the state has shifted considerably toward the Republicans since Manchin won his seat, and the Party of Lincoln now controls almost all of the statewide offices, the congressional delegation, and the state legislature. There is a heated primary between Massey Coal C.E.O. Don Blankenship, Rep. Evan Jenkins, and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Donald Trump is still popular in this state, and this race will severely test the degree to which popular incumbents with idiosyncratic ideologies can win in states where their party identification no longer matches up with the state’s.