A couple weeks ago, prominent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he might not vote for Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Add another West Virginia Democrat to the list — this time, the head of the state.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Wednesday that neither Obama nor Mitt Romney had earned his vote this November. He is also up for re-election in November.
Here’s part of his statement:
“I do not believe that either candidate has a real understanding of what is important to West Virginia.
As Governor, I go to work every day to stand up for West Virginians and create jobs. As Governor, I know that I must work hard every day to earn the trust and the votes of my constituents. Neither President Obama nor Governor Romney has earned my vote at this point.”
It’s very similar to the position Manchin took: Tomblin has issues with both candidates. With Romney, it’s on entitlements. With Obama, it’s on his energy and coal policies, which happen to affect crucial industries in West Virginia.
Mitt Romney is supporting policies that will end Medicare and Social Security as we know it. His policies will put more burdens on West Virginia families who are simply trying to make ends meet. On the other hand, President Obama has apparently made it his mission to drive the backbone of West Virginia’s economy, coal and the energy industry, out of business. That will not only hurt thousands of West Virginia families, it will destroy the economic fabric of our state.
There’s a connection here: Both Tomblin and Manchin were put in office after special elections. Manchin, the former governor of West Virginia, took over Sen. Robert Byrd’s Senate seat in a 2010 election. Then Tomblin took his seat in a 2011 special election.
Tomblin and Manchin’s strategy, it seems, is trying to play nice with their constituents. They got elected as Democrats, but they have a base that is frustrated with Barack Obama’s energy policy, particularly with the coal industry.
But as pointed out before, there’s a risk of being even more prone to attack because of this. That’s what happened when Manchin announced his shakiness in supporting Obama.
“I’d prefer if he didn’t vote with Obama so often,” said Chad Holland, the executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party, told Business Insider.
But Manchin argues that he is consistent as one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. His record does back that up. And he is building this into an argument of wanting the best for his state, independent of party.
“I strongly believe that every American should always be rooting for our President to do well, no matter which political party that he or she might belong to. With that being said, many West Virginians believe the last three and a half years haven’t been good for us, but we’re hopeful that they can get better.”
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