On New Year’s Day 2014 I wrote in my blog about the West Virginia political environment. Today before I look forward I took a quick look back to see what I missed.
Never did I expect a campaign as messy and mean. The campaign turned voters off and many Democrats were rethinking their loyalty. Experience told me Democrats kick in the last 45 days of the campaign – that did not happen. Democrat leaning special interest groups formed PAC’s to take up the slack. One could hardly tell the political affiliation of any candidate. Both Democrat and Republican candidates ran against Obama and everyone was for coal.
Not accounted for was the opportunity for Congresswoman Capito to pull GOP candidates into office when stronger Democrats passed up the U. S. Senate race. That, plus the low turnout when Democrat Chairman Larry Puccio could not get Democrats to the polls.
In days gone bye you could expect Senator Manchin and Governor Tomblin to reached out to save enough incumbents to save control of the legislature but that did not happen.
On the first day of 2015 my thoughts are not nearly as clear as they were 365 days ago. I do believe from a purely political standpoint all eyes will be on the coming 60 day session of the Legislature. I do not know what to make of the coming session. I expect the newcomers will be surprised at how law making really works and how much demand is placed on them.
With many new members not totally driven by politics…will they have their eyes on legislative accomplishments or the 2016 election? Old hands will tell you accomplishments must come in 2015 as legislators want to avoid tough votes in an election year (2016). But my view this new team will be different and want to make change…which they can turn into a new future for our State and votes in November, 2016.
Not to be overlooked is the incoming Senate President Bill Cole has all but announced his candidacy for Governor in 2016. This will be in play as the Republican legislators begin their new challenge. Others openly known to be considering entering the Republican primary for Governor are Congressman David McKinley and Attorney General Patrick Morrissey. One saving grace is party members have not started to choose sides.
As this point I see no leadership among the Democrats in the legislature and certainly not their party. My guess is they don’t know what to expect or to do.
How did I do?