West Virginia: With Mollohan Out, GOP Goes After Oliverio

Posted May 12, 2010 at 5:17pm

Republicans had been looking forward to taking on Rep. Alan Mollohan in the 1st district, but say they can still be competitive against state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who won the Democratic primary.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s preferred candidate, former state Rep. David McKinley, won a six-candidate GOP primary, topping his closest opponent by 8 points.

The district is culturally conservative and gave President Barack Obama just 42 percent of the vote when he was the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

Oliverio and McKinley will participate in the district’s first open-seat contest since 1982, when Mollohan was elected to succeed his father.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will now work to help elect Oliverio, though there’s bound to be some awkwardness given his ambivalence toward voting for Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as Speaker. “Hopefully, there will be a better candidate than Nancy Pelosi,” Oliverio said last month.

At the NRCC, which has been making a practice of linking vulnerable Democrats to Pelosi, spokesman Andy Sere said Wednesday that “it’s now time for Oliverio himself to come clean on a very important question: If his party puts forth Nancy Pelosi as their candidate for Speaker of the House, will he vote to put her in charge?”

Mollohan was the first House Member denied renomination this election cycle.