This weekend's Wheeling News-Register editorial discussed the various proposals for West Virginia redistricting:
many maps took the easy and predictable route by forming a twisty east-west line across the state that would keep the growth areas of Morgantown and Martinsburg together.
Instead, the editorial thinks that line should run north-south. (I was wondering, wouldn’t that line be “twisty”, too?) The News-Register argues that this north-south line
truly would best serve West Virginia for the next decade by splitting the growth areas into separate districts.
Yes, the realignment should be debated but, given Ogden’s obvious bias supporting local congressman, David McKinley, and its antipathy toward the West Virginia Democratic Party, why should we trust anything by our local Ogden papers on this subject?
Redistricting will always have winners and losers. Unfortunately, the solution offered in this editorial mentions neither. I believe the biggest winner in the map favored by the News-Register that splits the state into an eastern district and a western district would be local congressman and Ogden favorite, David McKinley, who would not have to face Republican sitting congressman, Alex Mooney, in a primary. Mooney, has a number of liabilities (ethics and carpetbagging charges come quickly to mind), but in a state that may be the Trumpiest (?) in the nation, his allegiance to the former president may be hard to beat if the two should meet in a primary. David McKinley may be the locals’ favorite of favorites, but I would think that he would be an underdog against Mooney.
The east-west map would no doubt help McKinley's reelection chances and I’m not the first to have noticed how McKinley gains from such a configuration. Others make another point – that Republicans gain with such a configuration by separating the two major growth areas in the state (Morgantown and the Eastern Panhandle) which just happen to be voting more and more Democratic. It won’t happen soon, but if the growth continued, the northern half might someday vote Democratic. Splitting them east and west would certainly help ensure that the state continues to elect Republican representatives. (It's a less obvious form of gerrymandering.)
I don’t disagree that we should look at different maps before deciding. Unfortunately, the local “newspapers” have no credibility on such political questions. When Ogden systematically ignores Democratic candidates running in congressional and senatorial elections, its hard to trust anything that Ogden says about elections.