Veteran House Democrat Nick Rahall is vulnerable

Did the partial government shutdown hurt the election prospects of Republicans running for the House? Perhaps in some cases it did. But the shutdown doesn’t seemed to have hurt Republican prospects of defeating Rep. Nick Rahall in West Virginia’s Third Congressional District.

Rahall has held the seat for more than three decades. His opponent is State Sen. Evan Jenkins, who became a Republican this year for the purpose of challenging Rahall. The district is the second worst performing U.S. House district for President Obama that a Democrat still holds, according to David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.

The Jenkins campaign has released a own poll by Harper Polling, a Republican polling group,. It shows Rahall leading Jenkins 46 percent to 42 percent. 45 percent of those questioned have an favorable opinion of Rahall, while 44 percent view him unfavorably. Ominously, I would think, 35 percent say Rahall deserves re-election, while 52 percent say it’s time to give someone new a chance.

Moreover, Jenkins outraised Rahall in the last quarter. He raised $207,000; Rahall raised $153,000.

The Cook Report has moved the race from “leans Democrat” to “toss-up.” However, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball still has the race leaning to Rahall, and Stuart Rothenberg has it “Democrat favored.”

It’s one to watch.

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