United States Senate elections in West Virginia, 2014

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U.S. Senate, West Virginia General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngShelley Moore Capito 62.1% 280,400
     Democratic Natalie Tennant 34.5% 155,730
     Libertarian John Buckley 1.6% 7,344
     Constitution Phil Hudok 0.6% 2,543
     Mountain Bob Henry Baber 1.2% 5,481
Total Votes 451,498
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State



CongressLogo.png

2014 U.S. Senate Elections in West Virginia

General Election Date
November 4, 2014

Primary Date
May 13, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Shelley Moore Capito Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Jay Rockefeller Democratic Party
Jay Rockefeller.jpg

Race Ratings
Cook Political Report: Lean R[1]

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Likely R[2]


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2014 U.S. House Elections

Flag of West Virginia.png
Voters in West Virginia elected one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, defeated West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D), John Buckley (L), Phil Hudok (C) and Bob Henry Baber (MP) in the general election to fill Jay Rockefeller's U.S. Senate seat. Capito is the first woman from West Virginia to serve in the Senate. Capito was also the first Republican woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from West Virginia.[3]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
January 25, 2014
May 13, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: West Virginia is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Parties decide who may vote. Both parties allow unaffiliated voters to vote in their primaries.[4]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register by April 22, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 14, 2014.[5]

See also: West Virginia elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election filled the Senate seat held by Jay Rockefeller (D), who was first elected in 1984. Rockefeller did not run for re-election in 2014.

Candidates

General election candidates


May 13, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Libertarian Party Libertarian Party Convention


Independent Third Party Candidates

Withdrew from race


Election results

General election

U.S. Senate, West Virginia General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngShelley Moore Capito 62.1% 280,400
     Democratic Natalie Tennant 34.5% 155,730
     Libertarian John Buckley 1.6% 7,344
     Constitution Phil Hudok 0.6% 2,543
     Mountain Bob Henry Baber 1.2% 5,481
Total Votes 451,498
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State

Democratic primary results

Tennant defeated Dennis Melton and David Wamsley in the Democratic primary.[20]

U.S. Senate, West Virginia Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngNatalie Tennant 77.9% 104,598
Dennis Melton 11.8% 15,817
David Wamsley 10.3% 13,773
Total Votes 134,188
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State

Republican primary results

Capito defeated Larry Butcher and Matthew Dodrill in the Republican primary.[20]

U.S. Senate, West Virginia Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngShelley Moore Capito 87.5% 74,655
Larry Butcher 4.2% 3,595
Matthew Dodrill 8.3% 7,072
Total Votes 85,322
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State

Libertarian convention

John Buckley won the Libertarian Party nomination on March 8, 2014.[21] He defeated Thomas Coyne.

Race background

Shelley Moore Capito

Capito, a seven-term congresswoman, was the first Republican woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from West Virginia.[3] The daughter of former Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., Capito's moderate voting record, particularly on fiscal issues, and support for the coal industry has helped her appeal to voters in a state that historically swings blue.[22][23] She has played a key role in West Virginia politics since she was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1996 and has been called "the state's most prominent Republican." Until 2011, she was the only Republican member of the West Virginia congressional delegation.[24] Upon the passing of long-term Senator Robert Byrd (D), it was widely speculated that Capito would challenge then-governor Joe Manchin (D) for Byrd's vacant seat. However, Capito decided not to run, saying, "There has been enough unnecessary chaos and controversy surrounding the vacancy in the U.S. Senate. My candidacy would create more uncertainty, invite a legal challenge and misrepresent my priorities as a public servant."[25] Before embarking on her career in politics, Capito was a college counselor and then director of an educational information center.[26] She received her M.Ed. from the University of Virginia and subsequently received a bachelor's degree in zoology from Duke University.[27]

Natalie Tennant

After a career in journalism--first as a television broadcaster and then as co-owner of a media consultancy group--Tennant was elected as the first female West Virginia Secretary of State in 2008, after a failed bid for the position four years prior. She ran for governor in 2011 but was defeated in the primary election.[28][29] She was, however, re-elected as secretary of state in 2012. Her tenure has been punctuated by some notable achievements, as well as several controversies. Notable victories include the implementation of an online voting system that allowed 179 deployed West Virginian servicemen to easily vote online, though there was significant concern regarding how secure the system would be if it came up against hackers.[30] One of the more notable blunders that occurred under her watch cost the state over $200,000 when a misprinted Republican ballot asked voters to choose "not more than 18 delegates to the Republican National Convention," when up to 19 could have been selected.[31] Tennant has attempted to distance herself from President Obama, whose approval rating in West Virginia was just 25 percent as of September 2014 and whose proposed regulations on coal have drawn the ire of residents in the coal-rich state.[32][33][34] Despite this, she was endorsed for the Senate position by First Lady Michelle Obama.[35] Other endorsers included Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp.[36] Tennant received her bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University.[37]

Voting trends in West Virginia

NOTE: In this graph, red represents counties that voted Democrat, and blue represents counties that voted Republican. Presidential party votes by county.

Historically, West Virginia has swayed Democrat, particularly at the state level. However, it is beginning to grow more conservative, with George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney winning 56, 56 and 62 percent of the state votes in the respective 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.[38] In 2012, Romney won every county in the state, marking the first time in history a major-party candidate failed to win any of West Virginia's counties.[39][40]

West Virginia is still considered a Trifecta plus for Democrats, meaning Democrats control the governor's mansion, state senate and state house, and have a working majority of the State's High Court.

People familiar with West Virginia's history and voting trends are divided on which direction the state is headed in regard to partisan allegiance. "In this past election, of all elections in the state of West Virginia, the fact is that Democrats won 67 percent of all the races which left the Republican Party to win 33 percent. So, there is not a question that it is a Democratic state," said Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio.[41]

Dr. Robert Rupp, history professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College, had a different take on the matter, saying, "The situation in West Virginia since, basically starting in 2000, is a slow and sustained transition from an extremely loyal Democrat state to a Republican state. From a blue state to a red state. However, what’s interesting about the transition is that unlike other states in the south; let’s use Georgia for example in which the transition happened in less than a decade, in West Virginia the transition is slower and at different levels."[41]

Voter turnout

According to records from West Virginia’s Secretary of State’s office, voter turnout has been declining in the state since 2006. Turnout for the 2006 midterm primary was 26 percent and 44 percent in the general election. In 2010, turnout declined to 24 percent during the midterm primary and 42 percent in the general election.[42]

"During the 2012 general election, a presidential election year, West Virginia had the lowest voter turnout in the nation with about 47 percent of voters casting ballots. The U.S. Census Bureau said West Virginia was the only state where less than half of eligible voters made it to the polls," per West Virginia Metro News.[42]

Most vulnerable seats

The Fiscal Times compiled a list of the seven most vulnerable Senate seats up for election in 2014. The seven included in the list were: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. Going into the 2014 election, all seven seats were held by Democrats.[43]

Democrat Jay Rockefeller’s retirement from the U.S. Senate opend up a seat in a state that voted strongly Republican at the presidential level; however, West Virginia has remained relatively Democratic at the state level.[43]

Issues

See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

Coal

Though a poll revealed coal was not the primary concern of most West Virginia voters - just over 16 percent chose "the future of coal" from among seven other options when asked what issue "is the most important to your vote for Congress this year" - both candidates presented pro-coal platforms.[44] Tennant criticized Capito for voting against a mine safety act, a policy supported by other West Virginia delegates. Capito expressed displeasure with Tennant's comments, saying, "I was obviously a little surprised at the vindictive nature she came right out of the box against me. I’ve got a lot going on here, and I’ve been doing this a long time. So I’m going to stick with my strategy. I always take the high road."[45]

Capito has traditionally been supportive of the coal and mining industry, sponsoring the Mine Safety Accountability and Improved Protection Act in 2011. In May 2013, she introduced the Coal Jobs Protection Act of 2013. The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to base a determination on approving a new or renewed permit covering discharges from a structure only on regulations issued by the permitting authority.[46][47] Tennant released a campaign ad that was called "one of the most anti-Obama ads of the election." In it, she turned off the lights of the White House after saying, "You and I know it's our hard working West Virginia coal miners that power America. I'll make sure President Obama gets the message."[48][33][34]

President Obama

Tennant worked to distance herself from President Obama and his policies, while Capito attempted to portray Tennant as just another "rubber stamp" for the Obama administration and its allies. The Capito camp claimed Tennant would vote for Harry Reid (D) for Senate majority leader.[49][50] Tennant was confronted about her support for Obama by a disgruntled voter at one of her campaign events. Though Tennant said very little during the exchange, when asked why she had supported Obama, Tennant's campaign chair, Major General Allen E. Tackett, interjected saying, "because she supports most of his policies." Tennant campaign spokeswoman Jenny Donohue subsequently released a statement, saying, "The general misspoke. Natalie does not support the majority of the president’s policies."[51][52][53][54]

Women's rights

Women's issues were featured prominently on the campaign trail for both female candidates. Tennant slammed Capito on her support of equal pay for women, saying, "Congresswoman Capito has a history of voting against West Virginia women, including voting five times against equal pay for equal work."[55] Capito responded to charges of her participation in the "War on Women," explaining, "Essentially, you're trying to say I'm warring on myself. That doesn't hold much credibility." She launched a Women With Shelley Coalition on June 30, which brought together women from across the state to discuss issues that were important to them.[55][56] Tennant's largest donor during the 2014 campaign cycle was EMILY's List, a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-abortion Democratic female candidates to office.[57][58]

Endorsements

Shelley Moore Capito

Capito was endorsed by the following:[59]

  • Wheeling Intelligencer
  • Huntington Herald Dispatch
  • Times West Virginian
  • Parkersburg News and Sentinel
  • The Martinsburg Journal
  • The Weirton Daily Times
  • Charleston Daily Mail
  • Bluefield Daily Telegraph
  • BIPAC – Business Industry Political Action Committee
  • Maggie’s List
  • National Association of Realtors
  • National Association of Women Business Owners
  • National Rifle Association
  • National Right to Life
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation
  • RightNOW Women PAC
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • West Virginia Coal Association
  • West Virginians for Life
  • West Virginia Farm Bureau, Farm PAC
  • West Virginia Citizens Defense League
  • Hospac (West Virginia Hospital Association)
  • West Virginia Medical Association
  • Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • HuntPac (Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce)
  • National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
  • Corridor H, Finish It!

Natalie Tennant

Tennant was endorsed by the following:

Media

Shelley Moore Capito


Capito for WV's, July 2014 ad, "Fighting for the Home Team."

Capito for WV's, August 2014 ad, "Obamacare."

Capito for WV's, August 2014 ad, "Medals of Honor."

Capito for WV's, September 2014 ad, "Shared Values."

Capito for WV's, October 2014 ad, "Real Story."

Capito for WV's, October 2014 ad, "Biggest Fan."

Capito for WV's, October 2014 ad, "Everyday."

Natalie Tennant


"Natalie Tennant for Senate," September 2013

Natalie Tennant for Senate's July 2014 ad, "Natalie for West Virginia."

Natalie Tennant for Senate's July 2014 ad, "'Message' - Tennant Stands Up for Coal Jobs."

Natalie Tennant for Senate's August 2014 ad, "Independent Leadership."

Natalie Tennant for Senate's September 2014 ad, "Delaney's Story."

Natalie Tennant for Senate's September 2014 ad, "Insiders."

Natalie Tennant for Senate's October 2014 ad, "A Promise Made."

John Buckley


John Buckley, Libertarian for U.S. Senate, West Virginia, Convention Speech

Polls

Capito v. Tennant
Poll Shelley Moore Capito (R) Natalie Tennant (D)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Rasmussen Reports
September 30-October 1, 2014
50%39%11%+/-4750
The West Virginia Poll
August 15-23, 2014
54%37%9%+/-4.9401
The West Virginia Poll
May 26, 2014
49%38%13%+/-4.9400
DMF Research
April 22-27, 2014
46%36%17%+/-5.2400
Rasmussen Reports
February 19-20, 2014
49%35%12%+/-4.5500
EMILY's List
January 29-30, 2014
45%39%16%+/-2.351,727
Harper Polling
September 24-25, 2013
51%34%15%+/-3.87640
Public Policy Polling
September 19-22, 2013
50%36%14%+/-2.91,110
AVERAGES 49.25% 36.75% 13.38% +/-4.08 741
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org


Campaign contributions

Candidate ballot accecss
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Natalie Tennant

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Tennant's reports.[62]

Natalie Tennant (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
October Quarterly[63]October 15, 2013$0.00$153,421.00$(2,354.80)$151,066.20
Year-End[64]March 24, 2014$151,066.20$646,776.52$(194,026.46)$603,816.26
April Quarterly[65]April 15, 2014$603,816.26$794,334.11$(307,712.53)$1,090,437.84
Pre-Primary[66]May 1, 2014$1,090,437.84$152,185.49$(91,159.24)$1,151,464.09
July Quarterly[67]July 14, 2014$1,151,464.09$624,616.23$(259,672.51)$1,516,407.81
October Quarterly[68]October 15, 2014$1,516,407.81$940,895.94$(1,324,886.33)$1,132,417.42
Running totals
$3,312,229.29$(2,179,811.87)

Emily's List

Tennant's largest donor during the 2014 campaign cycle was EMILY's List, a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-abortion Democratic female candidates to office.[69][70]

Shelley Moore Capito

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Capito's reports.[71]

Shelley Moore Capito (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[72]April 15, 2013$1,603,511.56$945,903.57$(177,913.64)$2,371,501.49
July Quarterly[73]July 15, 2013$2,371,501.49$763,974.48$(261,857)$2,873,618.97
October Quarterly[74]October 15, 2013$2,873,618.97$777,491.01$(394,409.58)$3,256,700.40
Year-end[75]January 31, 2014$3,256,700$829,899$(361,244)$3,725,355
April Quarterly[76]April 14, 2014$3,725,355.91$843,933.75$(372,408.07)$4,196,881.59
July Quarterly[77]July 29, 2014$4,317,989.59$1,134,911.31$(536,555.17)$4,916,345.64
October Quarterly[78]October 15, 2014$4,916,345.64$1,612,979.16$(3,115,071.84)$3,414,252.96
Running totals
$6,909,092.28$(5,219,459.3)

John Buckley

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Buckley's reports.[79]

John Buckley (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
July Quarterly[80]July 14, 2014$0.00$16,718.61$(11,211.12)$5,569.49
Running totals
$16,718.61$(11,211.12)

David Wamsley

Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Wamsley's reports.[81]

David Wamsley (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[82]April 7, 2014$0.00$5,218.00$(4,419.84)$798.16
Running totals
$5,218$(4,419.84)

Election history

2012

On November 6, 2012, Joe Manchin won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated John Raese and Bob Henry Baber in the general election.

U.S. Senate, West Virginia General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Manchin III Incumbent 60.5% 391,669
     Republican John R. Raese 36.5% 236,620
     Mountain Bob Henry Baber 3% 19,232
Total Votes 647,521
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

2008

On November 4, 2008, Rockefeller won re-election to the U.S. Senate, defeating Jay Wolfe (R), John R. "Rick" Bartlett (Write-in) and Chad Shaffer (Write-in).[83]

U.S. Senate, West Virginia, General election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn D. Rockefeller IV Incumbent 63.7% 447,560
     Republican Jay Wolfe 36.3% 254,629
     Write-in John R. "Rick" Bartlett 0% 83
     Write-in Chad Shaffer 0% 36
Total Votes 702,308

See also

External links

References

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