Some thoughts on the election and its aftermath
Alex Mooney’s victory
I was not impressed. He defeated the Democratic candidate, Barry Wendell by 31%. (For comparison, David McKinley defeated Natalie Cline by 38% in 2020.) Wendell received next-to-no support - financial or otherwise, from the Democratic Party and very little coverage by West Virginia media. Mooney did no campaigning; he instead depended upon his only asset, an endorsement by Donald Trump.
Curious, I compared the WV 2 county margins of victory for Trump in 2020 and Mooney in 2022. Trump in 2020 won all of the 25 counties that make up District 2 and he won by an average of 49% while Mooney averaged 41% and in only three of the counties did Mooney do better than Trump. (Predictably, they were Jefferson, Morgan, and Hardy.) Mooney clearly underperformed Trump.
Back to the Democrats -- where were the ads? (I didn’t see one.) Representative Mooney has done nothing in Congress and has spent the last year under House ethics reviews. (See McKinley’s primary ads.) Mooney also likes to take credit for legislation that he voted against. (See here.) Despite obvious issues that would make effective campaign commercials, there were no ads from the Democratic Party. Combine this total lack of party support with the WV media’s near non-existent coverage of Wendell's campaign; I think Wendell’s 31% of the vote is surprisingly high.
Republican amendments lose
As my last post noted, the Republican Party endorsed all four constitutional amendments on the ballot:
Your conservative WVGOP supports all four conservative amendments on the ballot. We ask that you support them with us to make West Virginia great! pic.twitter.com/mMdCRGWiv9— WVGOP (@WVGOP) November 7, 2022
They all went down to defeat. I’ll give Justice some credit on Amendment 2. I also think that the legislature is pushing their right-wing agenda too far and too fast. (More on this later.)
The Republican “red wave”
Beyond West Virginia and Florida, what happened to that “red wave” we kept hearing about from Republicans, their pollsters, and Fox News?
I haven’t heard much from Republicans and pollsters, but here’s Fox News denying they ever mentioned it:
Sean Hannity plays dumb, says he doesn’t know where the predictions of a red wave came from. So the Washington Post lets him have it with a supercut of his own Fox News predicting a red wave. pic.twitter.com/Uq2J3PMdlw— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) November 12, 2022
Yes, Republicans won big in West Virginia. But what will the state’s supermajority of Republicans do with it? More subsidies for a dying fossil fuel industry that bring consumers even higher electric bills? More reactionary measures that will only compound the state’s population decline? Further attacks on public education? I can hardly wait.
Nationally, Republicans ask, “how could this happen?” and the finger-pointing begins
Beyond the search for scapegoats, the battles for Republican Senate and House leadership are just beginning. I found it interesting that WV’s Republican senator, Shelley Moore Capito, who frequently dodges making any commitment on controversial issue until the last minute, has already taken sides in the coming Republican war:
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) pledged her support for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). https://t.co/azyxGm6yfe— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 11, 2022
While Capito's choice of sides didn't surprise me, the quickness of her decision did. The national media love to describe "Dems in disarray." Are they up to the challenge of "Republicans in disarray"? I'll be interested in hearing more from our Republican senator now that she's made an early commitment.