September 28, 2012
The Tom Roten Morning Show...Mornings from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., on News Radio 800 WVHU/1600 WZZW.
Hopefully you were listening this morning in the 7:00am hour when we broke the news that West Virginia state Senator Evan Jenkins, from Cabell Co., was leaving the Democrat Party and switching to the GOP! Not only that, but Jenkins also announced that he's a candidate in the 2014 Republican primary for the US House of Representatives in WV's 3rd District.
Jenkins' press release from this morning:
HUNTINGTON, WV — Today State Senator Evan Jenkins, who
represents Cabell and Wayne Counties, changed his party registration from
Democrat to Republican and declared his candidacy for Congress in West
Virginia's Third Congressional District. Jenkins will run as a Republican
against Nick Rahall, a Democrat who has been in Washington since 1976.
"West Virginia is under attack from Barack Obama and a Democratic Party
that our parents and grandparents would not recognize," said Jenkins. "I am
proud to join the Republican Party in fighting Washington's assault on our
state, our freedoms, and our jobs."
Jenkins did not mince words when speaking about the 18-term incumbent Congressman: "Nick Rahall is part of the Washington problem. He claims to stand up for coal, but voted for a budget that would destroy coal jobs in West Virginia," said Jenkins. "We need our member of Congress to fight President Obama's dangerous agenda, not campaign for it. I will fight for West Virginia's hard working families, its small businesses, and future generations of West Virginians that deserve to see a brighter and better
Sen. Jenkins will serve the remainder of his term in the WV Legislature as a Republican. He will be a guest on The Tom Roten Morning Show tomorrow at 8:04am!
Should Jenkins win the '14 nomination, it will not be the first time Congressman Rahall has faced a former Democrat. In 2010, Spike Maynard lost to Rahall by 12 points. Maynard, a former Democrat, had been a member of the WV State Supreme Court.
I'm including reaction on this announcement and the RNC Press Release below.
“I want to welcome State Senator Jenkins to the Republican Party and applaud him for taking a stand on behalf of West Virginians,” said Chairman Priebus.
“Evan recognizes that President Obama’s Democrat Party has lost touch with the
people of West Virginia . Democrats’ war on coal is a war on jobs. West Virginia
knows this all too well. While Democrats give in to the liberal activists and
special interests, Republicans will stand up for every American who wants a
shot at a good job and a better future. Evan knows this, and the people of West Virginia can count on him to be a pro-jobs legislator who fights for their values.
“As Democrats continue to abandon American workers, more leaders like Evan will
abandon the Democrat Party. Republicans welcome everyone who cherishes freedom
and believes in unlimited opportunity for all.”
“Evan should be commended for his decision, and we’re glad that he now calls
the Republican Party home,” said Co-Chairman Day.
Here's what some others have had to say:
“Flip-flop. How many times is Evan Jenkins going to switch parties? This time his newfound Republican bosses in Washington have promised him the world. Yet his promises to West Virginians now ring as hollow as his word.”
“I’m not going to run away from those that brought me to the dance and renounce my party because I disagree with our president. But I’ve dealt with traitors before and I’ll deal with traitors again.” - US Rep. Nick J. Rahall
“On behalf of myself and the National Republican Congressional Committee, I welcome Evan to the Republican Party and am excited that voters in West Virginia now have a
candidate for Congress who reflects their hopes and values, as well as their
frustrations with how the Washington D.C. Democratic establishment is committed
to leaving West Virginia behind.” - National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
"I have had the pleasure of serving with Evan Jenkins in the West Virginia
State Senate and I know him to be a diligent and dedicated public servant who
always put his constituents before partisan politics. I welcome his decision to
join the Republican Party and offer voters in the 3rd District the chance to
support a true leader who will join Republicans in Washington in their fight
against President Obama's destructive agenda. Evan has asked me to serve as the
Chairman of his campaign for Congress and I have proudly accepted this role.
Without question Evan is the best person to go to Washington and fight for
Southern West Virginia." - State Senator Bill Cole (R-Mercer)
**Bill Cole was being courted by the NRCC to run against Rahall himself, but turned down the offer a few weeks ago.
"Senator Jenkins is the finest example of an elected official who sees that West Virginia's future must take precedence over the parties of the past. This is West Virginia. We
mine coal. We drill. We build America. With great leadership we will fuel our
nation for generations to come. West Virginia is poised for greatness but we need leaders who are willing to make tough choices." - WV Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas
"The Republican Legislative Campaign Committee welcomes West Virginia State
Senator Evan Jenkins to the Republican Party. West Virginians understand all
too well what a devastating impact the Obama Administration's war on coal and
Democratic policies have had on its economy. We're thrilled to have him as a
part of the Republican Party and look forward to working with him to earn
majorities in both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature." - Chris Jankowski, RLCC
Not everyone in the GOP seemed elated with Jenkins announcement. Former WV Delegate and 2012 GOP Nominee Rick Snuffer lost to Rahall by only 8 points. Here's his statement: