If popular WVa Gov. Joe Manchin runs for Senate and leads the state's ticket in November, that means good things for conservative Democrat Mike Oliverio, who unseated longtime incumbent Congressman Alan Mollohan in the primary, CQ Politics reports:
If all goes as expected, the highly popular Manchin will be at the top of the ticket this fall, which should drive Democratic turnout statewide. And that could be a boon for Democrats hoping to hold the battleground 1st district, which became open this year when 14-term Rep. Alan B. Mollohan was defeated by state Sen. Mike Oliverio in May’s Democratic primary.
Since then, some West Virginia political observers have wondered whether the contentious Democratic primary left a rift between Mollohan Democrats and Oliverio Democrats that Republicans might be able to exploit in a district that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won by 15 points in the 2008 presidential race.
But Manchin, who once defeated Oliverio in a race for secretary of state before he became governor, would give Democrats of all stripes a reason to come out to the polls this fall. Manchin won 73 percent of the vote in the 1st district in his gubernatorial race.
“To the extent you can make the case that there are Mollohan supporters who are still upset with Oliverio’s victory, the chances of them coming out to vote for Manchin and bypassing the opportunity to vote for a Democrat for Congress are pretty slim,” one Democratic operative said Monday.