Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is seeing his first Democratic primary challenger since 1992, and his name is Mike Oliverio. (Mollohan is currently running to secure his 14th term in the House of Representatives.
His challenger, Mike Oliverio, currently holds a seat on the West Virginia State Senate.
Recent polls show the 27 year veteran facing quite an opposition. A seat once thought would certainly be held by Mollohan is now up for contention, and Oliverio has an upper hand going into the final week of April.
During the last week of January, as Oliverio prepared for a potential run for Congress, he commissioned Orion Strategies to conduct a poll of 600 Democratic voters likely to vote in the primary based on their history. Oliverio pointed to two factors in the poll’s results that led him to decide to run against Mollohan, D-W.Va.
Asked the question "In a race between Alan Mollohan and another Democratic candidate, would you vote for Alan Mollohan?" half of those responding said they would vote for Mollohan, while another 23 percent were undecided.
The voters also were asked if they approved of leadership of some top Democrats. Gov. Joe Manchin’s resulting approval rating was 67 percent; that of President Barack Obama, 46 percent; and Mollohan’s, 40 percent
This is just an example of the political climate surrounding state politics in West Virginia, and specifically on Mollohan as reported in the Wheeling Intelligencer
Aaron Blake, of The Hill’s Ballot Box Campaign Blog, had this to say:
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) is in serious trouble in his primary, according to a new poll released by state Sen. Mike Oliverio.
The poll, which was conducted by in-state pollster Orion Strategies, shows Oliverio surging to an eight-point lead on the incumbent, 41-33. A couple months ago, Mollohan led 41-31
Growing opposition to Rep. Mollohan continues in the wake of corruption charges that have been brought against him over the past few years. A recent investigation by the DOJ was dropped, but the public opinion has been significantly dropping.
There are roughly 17 days until the primary election, it will be very interesting to see how this develops. Does Oliverio have a chance to win the primary and face a Republican foe in the November elections?
We shall see.