Winning the Argument: How WV Democrats are Turning to the GOP
Despite a 2 to 1 advantage, registered Democrats are voting for Republicans in West Virginia
The numbers don’t lie, West Virginia’s elected Democrats will go into the 2014 election with fewer registered voters and little support from members of their own party.
Tuesday was the last day to register to vote or change voter registration for West Virginia’s primary election. As disorganized as the Secretary of State’s office is, the final registration numbers won’t be up right away. However, the numbers available paint a bad picture.
Here are some interesting stats: 55.54 percent of voters in 2009 were registered Democrats. In five years, voter registration increased in West Virginia by more than 2 percent, but the Democratic Party was the only voting block to lose registration.
As of March 2014, Democrats had 50.17 percent of registrations. That’s a 7.85 percent loss in registration in five years. Every other group gained, with independents and other political parties seeing the largest gains.
Republicans only saw small gains, with an increase of 3,394 voters in five years, or a .97 percent change. Republicans make up 29.08 percent of registered voters, but Republicans don’t really need people to change their registrations. Democrat voters are already voting Republican without changing registration.
President George W. Bush carried this state twice during the 2000 and 2004 presidential races. Shelley Moore Capito was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and will likely become the first Republican U.S. Senator in years when she defeats Deomocrat Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in November. David McKinley defeated the Democrat that defeated Alan Mollohan in the 1st Congressional District back in 2010. It’s becoming very lonely in Congress for U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who could be the only Democrat member of the state’s congressional delegation by 2014.
On the state level, Patrick Morrisey defeated Democrat Darrell McGraw for Attorney General. Republicans picked up 47 seats in the House of Delegates in 2012 and are on track to take the House in 2014. With gains in 2012 and likely gains in 2014, Republicans stand a real chance of taking the state Senate by 2016.
West Virginia’s Democratic Party leadership will tell you they have a 2 to 1 voter registration advantage, but none of those success victories above would be possible without registered Democrats putting the state above their party and voting Republican.
With Mollohan defeated, Senator Robert C. Byrd dead, Senator Jay Rockefeller retiring, and President Barack Obama ignorant of West Virginia’s needs, average Democrat voters are opening their eyes and seeing the condition Democrat leaders have left the state in. They’re choosing Republicans for an alternative to the malaise. They’re saying no to staying the course.
Democrats don’t have to change their voter registration, because Republicans can take their message of low taxes, smaller government, reasonable regulations, and individualism directly to the people, circumventing the Democratic Party apparatus. This can be done now through websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These innovations are creating conversations, opening dialogue, and making people think about whether they are truly better off.
Republicans in West Virginia are winning the argument, and whether or not they win in party registration, they’ll win the vote in 2014 and beyond.
Quick correction: McKinley defeated Democrat from state Senator Mike Oliverio, who defeated Mollohan in the primary. Forgot about Oliverio, which is pretty easy to do since he is highly forgettable.