Tomorrow in W. Virginia, there is a special election for governor. Because neither candidate has Tweeted pics of his nether regions, the race has garnered very little national attention. Yet in many ways, it is potentially very significant, and could be an indicator of next November's results.
The acting governor, Earl Ray Tomblin ( who came into office when Manchin ran, and won, the Senate seat), is by all accounts a run-of-the mill political hack, with some questionable ethical and financial issues. His GOP opponent, businessman Bill Maloney, has used his personal wealth to finance a good part of his campaign, though in the last weeks, he is getting significant financial support from ouitside Republican groups.
That's because the one candidate who matters most isn't on the ballot tomorrow. That's Barack Obama. Obama is, very unpopular in WV, to put it mildly. Manchin sounded more lke a Republican in his last campaign, even refusing to say if he would vote for Obama next year. Tomblin has also not said if he'd vote for Obama.
The main issues driving the campaign are Obamacare, which the majority of West Virginian's detest, and the heavy-handed EPA regulations which threathen much of WV's coal mining based economy.
Polling is sporadic, though recent ones suggest that right now the race is in single digits favoring the Dem, though Maloney has made significant gains in the last weeks.
If enough people in WV want to emulate the voters of NY and send Obama a message, then Maloney wins this. If he comes up just short, it will still resonate, and the GOP will have another chance next year when Obama is atop the ticket. Eitherway, the decades long stranglehold that Dems have held in local and statewide races in WV will finally be over.
They'll be plenty to analyze, and predict, and chew on after the results tomorrow, but it will likely be bad news for Obama, no matter how they try to spin it.