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Presidential Campaign Notes

August 7, 2008 - Joselyn King
The West Virginia campaign office of presumed Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has announced those who will run McCain's campaign in the state.

Three congressional chairs have been selected for each of the state's three congressional districts. In the 1st Congressional District, those chairmen include Wheeling mayor and current state Sen. Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio.

Delegate Ron Ellem, R-Wood; and former state Sen. Sarah Minear, R-Tucker, also are 1st district chairmen.

In addition, each local county also will have its own McCain campaign chairmen. They are Marilyn McCord in Brooke County; Jeff Wargo, Hancock County; Tiffany Turner, Marshall County; Brian Gaus, Ohio County; Delegate Roger Romine, Tyler County; and Wayne Weber, Wetzel County.

The Obama campaign has yet to announce its local campaign chairmen, and the Obama campaign site actually has little information about its efforts in the state.

This could be because the most recent polling in the state -- a June 6 Rasmussen report -- shows McCain with 45 percent of the vote; and Obama, with 38 percent.

But the Obama campaign shouldn't write off West Virginia.

The same report notes that President George W. Bush won 56 percent of the West Virginia vote in the 2004 election. But just 27 percent of the state’s voters now believe Bush is now doing a good or excellent job as president, while there are 58 percent who graded the president's performance as "poor." It's conceivable that if Obama were to get out and "press the flesh" in West Virginia, he could make up the ground. But he is running a national campaign, and the time and expense it would take to win the state wouldn't justify those five electoral votes.

The same Rasmussen Report also indicated that by a 59 percent to 32 percent margin, West Virginia voters say it’s more important to get the troops home from Iraq than to win the war. There are 45 percent who say victory is at least somewhat likely if John McCain is elected president, while just 20 percent say that victory is that likely if Obama is elected. However, 48 percent believe a President Obama would be at least somewhat likely to get the troops home within four years, while just 38 percent say a President McCain would be likely to do the same.

Another political source, the Cook Report, lists West Virginia as "leaning Republican" -- just one step above "toss up" Ohio is listed as being a "toss up" in the report, which is the Cook Report's overall assessment of this year's presidential race.


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