Acting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin pulled out a slim win in last night’s special election in West Virginia, despite a late charge from Republican challenger Bill Maloney, who strove mightily to shackle Tomblin to President Obama. West Virginia tends to vote for Democrats in everything except presidential elections, and Obama has a mere 28% approval rating there, Real Clear Politics explains, so Maloney ran ads complaining that Tomblin, unlike some other governors, was not fighting “Obamacare.”
The attacks hit home, especially in the state’s Republican-leaning eastern panhandle, and Maloney’s poll numbers were trending upward. But Tomblin stayed focused on local issues, running ads featuring his predecessor and current Sen. Joe Manchin, and held on for the 50%-47% win. The Democratic Governors Association hailed the victory as a “clear blow to national Republicans,” attributing the win to Tomblin’s ability to depict Maloney as “an outsider millionaire businessman” with “risky, radical positions,” a strategy Politico thinks might work elsewhere.