By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., cruised to an easy re-election victory Tuesday in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District contest.
With 631 of 636 precincts reporting, Rahall was the apparent winner with 105,968 votes over Republican challenger Rick Snuffer, who netted 91,563 votes, according to unofficial returns.
The Snuffer campaign attempted unsuccessfully to link Rahall to President Barack Obama, and his unpopular war on coal. Snuffer also challenged and lost to Rahall in 2004.
Rahall, the veteran Democrat, has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 36 years. His victory Tuesday secures a 19th term in the House. Rahall was first elected to the post in 1975. He is also the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Locally, Snuffer won Mercer County by 11,426 votes to 8,852 for Rahall. In McDowell County, Rahall won with 3,776 votes to 2,175 for Snuffer.
The 3rd Congressional District includes Mercer, Monroe, McDowell, Raleigh, Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Summers, Wayne, Webster and Wyoming counties.
Both Rahall and Snuffer met with the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board last month where they addressed issues ranging from the so-called war on coal to the bipartisan gridlock in Washington.
“Compromise was used in our Constitution and what a great document it is,” Rahall said in the earlier interview. “Compromise is not a dirty word in my opinion. Earmarks aren’t a dirty word in my opinion. I think earmarks have a place in our legislative process. Earmarks are a part of our constitutional duty as lawmakers to decide how monies are spent. Do we want the president of the United States — no matter who he is — to have that power over Congress. No, and I don’t think that is what our Constitution meant for us to do.”
Rahall also addressed stagnation in the region, including the lack of federal funds for the King Coal Highway and Coalfield Expressway, during the earlier editorial board meeting.
“I certainly realize that and the anxiety and frustration and the uncertainty and fear that exists among our people about their future and the state,” Rahall said in the earlier interview. “With the King Coal Highway we weren’t able to obtain additional earmarks for that because earmarks aren’t allowed nowadays. We also had to scale it (the new federal highway bill) back from a five-year to a two-year bill. That’s actually considered a victory if you consider where we started at the beginning of the year.”
— Contact Charles Owens at email@example.com