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Musing on the Mountain State: West Virginia In Play for Obama

While WV isn’t even close to being the only "redneck yahoo" state in the union, we get our fair share of press machinations that paint us that way because it fits into certain preconceived narrative boxes about West By God Virginia. Thing is, like most places, we aren’t a state that is so easily pigeonholed.

We take especial delight in confounding folks by voting our interests instead of preconceived prejudices. To wit:

"There’s a lot of people out there think you’re a bunch of inbred, redneck racists," he told a couple dozen people wearing union hats and jackets. "They say you won’t vote for a man who’s black."

"The rest of the country thought when Kennedy ran we were a bunch of ignorant, inbred religious bigots," he said. "They were wrong, and we made Kennedy president."

As a local judicial candidate spoke in Logan, two of the politicians wandered off to marvel at the scene taking place behind them. There, a polite, black former Marine, Mitchell Cook, was handing blue Obama bumper stickers and yard signs to drivers pulling into the mall and was even attaching the bumper stickers himself to some of the pickups and battered two-doors.

Lawn signs are sprouting up here like weeds — lots of McCain/Palin signs, but a whole bunch of corresponding Obama/Biden ones in the mix. We had trouble getting Obama signs for the longest time — we were off the campaign radar map far too long, but we’ve gotten signs more recently, and folks are making good use of them.

And WV is definitely back on the competitive map and Obama campaign radar.

That Obama Wisconsin lead is bigger than McCain’s West Virginia edge is striking. Think about it: Who would have guessed that at this point in time in the campaign, Obama would have a better shot at winning West Virginia than McCain does in Wisconsin.

Add to that the fact that Obama has 14 satellite offices around the state and several paid staff members as well as droves of volunteers contrasted with only one paid staffer for McCain? And a recent additional ad buy within the state on top of surrounding state ads that have been playing for weeks? You begin to see why the polls are tightening here…and you can start with fears about the economy as the catalyst.

Speaking of fears, McCain might want to call off his campaign hecklers at early voting locations. That could result in criminal detention and possible charges if they keep it up.

WVBlue has some great snapshots from the recent tour of Southern coalfields and Dem strongholds in WV that local Democratic politicians and union leaders just concluded. And reports are that Sen. Joe Biden will be in Charleston on Friday — I’m working on a press pass and hope to have on-the-spot reportage if I can get one.

FiveThirtyEight finally hit WV in their battleground analysis and the bottom line comes down to one thing: turnout. Which is true for most states at this point. So get out there and make some calls or do some canvassing for a candidate of your choice!

(YouTube — From an Obama rally in Charleston, WV last week.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com