Last night in a special election Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin defeated his Republican challenger Bill Maloney in a close special election for governor. While Tomblin had been acting governor after previous governor Joe Manchin (D-WV) moved up to the Senate, he still had to run for the position until the actual general election in the fall of 2012.
Republicans went whole hog in the campaign, outspending Democrats 2-1 and closing Tomblin’s 30 point lead to a slim victory of 49 to 47 on Tuesday. Like most special elections, I am hesitant to make too much of the results, and Democrats have a very good record in special elections, they’ve won 24 of 35 special elections in the last 8 years including 7 where the party switched. The one assessment that can be made though is that all politics is local if you work on it. Obama’s approval rating in West Virginia is 28%, one of his worst in the 50 states, the Republican Governor’s association spent millions of dollars attempting to tie Tomblin to Obama – but he won. Not by distancing himself from the president but by focusing on West Virginia and painting those ads as ‘interference’ from outsiders. Probably a good strategy for Red State Dems in 2012.
This article originally appeared on Politic365.com.