West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District elections, 2012

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West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
May 8, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Nick Rahall Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Nick Rahall Democratic Party
Nick Rahall.jpg

West Virginia U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of West Virginia.png
The 3rd Congressional District of West Virginia held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.
This is the 3rd Congressional District prior to the 2011 redistricting.

Nick Rahall was re-elected on November 6, 2012.[1]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
January 28, 2012
May 8, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: West Virginia has a mostly closed primary system, in which the selection of a party's candidates in an election is limited to registered party members, although unaffiliated voters may pick which party's primary to vote in.

Voter registration: Voters had to register to vote in the primary by April 17, 2012. For the general election, the voter registration deadline was October 16, 2012.[2]

See also: West Virginia elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election was incumbent Nick Rahall (D), who was first elected to the House in 1976 representing West Virginia's then-existing 4th Congressional District; when the 4th was eliminated, he ran for and won the 3rd District in 1992.

This was the first election which used new district maps based on 2010 Census data. West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state, and includes Pocahontas, Webster, Nicholas, Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers, Raleigh, Mercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Mingo, Logan, Boone, Lincoln, Wayne, Cabell, and Mason counties.[3]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Nick Rahall Green check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Rick Snuffer

May 8, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic primary

Republican Party Republican primary

Election results

General Election

U.S. House, West Virginia District 3 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNick Rahall Incumbent 53.5% 102,519
     Republican Rick Snuffer 46.5% 88,999
Total Votes 191,518
Source: West Virginia Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Democratic Primary

West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRick Snuffer 53.4% 12,359
Lee Bias 28.8% 6,671
Bill Lester 17.7% 4,104
Total Votes 23,134

Race background

West Virginia's 3rd was considered to be Leaning Democratic according to the New York Times race ratings. Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall, who managed to hold his seat for 18 terms, was challenged by Rick Snuffer (R). Rahall was a conservative Democrat who has frustrated his party with his advocacy for the coal industry.[5]

Republican challenger Rick Snuffer was included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlighted challengers who represented the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[6]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in West Virginia

West Virginia did not gain or lose a congressional seat following the 2010 Census. The state produced a map that involved minimal changes, but did shift Mason County from the 2nd to 3rd Congressional District.

A three-judge panel ruled West Virginia's redistricting plan unconstitutional for its unequal distribution of population among its three congressional districts. The court gave the West Virginia Legislature until January 17, 2012, to come up with a new map.[7]

Registration statistics

As of October 30, 2012, District 3 had the following partisan registration breakdown according to the West Virginia Secretary of State:

West Virginia Congressional District 3[8]
Congressional District District Total Democrats Republicans Other & Unaffiliated Advantage Party Advantage Change in Advantage from 2010
District 3 420,689 260,549 93,546 66,594 Democratic 178.53% N/A
"Party advantage" is the percentage gap between the two major parties in registered voters. "Change in advantage" is the spread in difference of party advantage between 2010 and 2012 based on the congressional district number only.

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. West Virginia's 3rd District became more Republican because of redistricting.[9]

  • 2012: 40D / 60R
  • 2010: 39D / 61R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District had a PVI of R+6, which was the 154th most Republican district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by John McCain (R), 57-43 percent over Barack Obama (D). In 2004, George W. Bush (R) won the district 54-46 percent over John Kerry (D).[10]

District history

Candidate ballot access
Ballot Access Requirements Final.jpg

Find detailed information on ballot access requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.


On November 2, 2010, Nick Rahall won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating Elliott E. "Spike" Maynard (R).[11]

U.S. House of Representatives General Election, West Virginia, Congressional District 3, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNick J. Rahall II Incumbent 56% 83,636
     Republican Elliott E. "Spike" Maynard 44% 65,611
Total Votes 149,247

See also