By the numbers, West Virginia’s 3rd District looks like a prime Republican takeover opportunity. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the district with 65 percent in 2012. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., won it with 56 percent in 2008. And President George W. Bush took 53 percent in 2004.
But winning the southern West Virginia seat — and defeating Democratic Rep. Nick J. Rahall II — has been impossible so far for the GOP.
After coming up with disappointing nominees in the past, Republicans focused this time on state Sen. Bill Cole. The wealthy car dealer would have been a credible candidate, but he recently declined to make the jump. Unlike other districts where Republicans have a deep bench, there really isn’t a plan B for the GOP at this point.
You can read a longer Rothenberg Political Report analysis of the race, before Cole dropped out, here ($).
Rahall can’t rest too easy in a state where President Barack Obama has never been popular. But for now, this race moves from Lean Democrat to Democrat Favored in the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings.