United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2008

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United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2008
West Virginia
← 2002 November 4, 2008 2014 →
  Jay Rockefeller official photo.jpg Jay Wolfe cropped.jpg
Nominee Jay Rockefeller Jay Wolfe
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 444,107 252,764
Percentage 63.7% 36.3%

West Virginia Senate Election Results by County, 2008.svg
County results

U.S. Senator before election

Jay Rockefeller

Elected U.S. Senator

Jay Rockefeller

The 2008 United States Senate election in West Virginia was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV won re-election to a fifth-term.


Before the 2000 presidential election, West Virginia had been won by the Democratic nominee every time since 1932 except for 1956, 1972, and 1984. In 2000, then Republican Governor George W. Bush of Texas won West Virginia’s five electoral college votes over then Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee by a margin of 52-46. Also in the 2000 election, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, the daughter of Former West Virginia Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., won a surprise victory over Democrat Jim Humphreys for West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District seat to the United States House of Representatives. She is the first Republican in West Virginia to hold a Congressional office for more than one term since her father (1957–1969). She is, however, at risk of losing her seat. Before these two major victories for national and West Virginia Republicans, it was difficult to find a Republican who could mount a formidable campaign against Democrats running for public office in West Virginia.

President Bush won West Virginia again in the 2004 presidential election over John F. Kerry, the Democratic junior Senator from Massachusetts by a margin of 56-43. Both Representative Alan Mollohan (D-1st District) and Representative Nick Rahall (D-3rd District) had more formidable challenges from Republicans when compared to 2000 and 2002.

Since 2000, the Republicans have gained seven net seats in both the West Virginia Senate and the West Virginia House of Delegates. However, the Democrats hold 60% of the seats in the Senate and 68% of the seats in the House.

Along with continued majorities in the legislature, Democrats have also had some other victories. Even though both Bush and Capito won their respective offices in 2000, Senator Byrd sailed to an eighth term with 78% of the vote over Republican David Gallaher. Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, easily won a fourth term to the Senate in 2002 by a margin of 63-37 over Republican former state senator Jay Wolfe. In 2000, 2002, and 2004, both Representative Mollohan and Representative Rahall were re-elected by much stronger margins than Capito. In 2004, Republican Monty Warner failed to defeat Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Joe Manchin for governor.

After the Republicans failed to win the governor’s race, West Virginia Republican Committee Chairman Kris Warner, the brother of Monty, was put under pressure to resign his post; he did so in May 2005 [1]. Wheeling attorney Rob Capehart took his place. (Dr. Doug McKinney of Bridgeport now holds the post.) Another brother of Monty, Kasey, who was appointed by President Bush in 2001, was removed as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia on August 1, 2005. No explanation has been given for his departure and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles T. Miller currently represents the district.

Democratic primary[edit]



2008 West Virginia U.S. Senator Democratic primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jay Rockefeller 271,370 77.1%
Democratic Sheirl Fletcher 51,073 14.5%
Democratic Billy Hendricks 29,707 8.4%
Turnout 352,150

Republican primary[edit]



2008 West Virginia U.S. Senator Republican primary election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jay Wolfe N/A 100.00%
Turnout 100.00%

General election[edit]



Poll Source Dates administered Rockefeller Wolfe
Rasmussen Reports September 24, 2008 61% 33%


General election results[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jay Rockefeller 447,560 63.7% +0.6%
Republican Jay Wolfe 254,629 36.3% -0.6%
Majority 192,931
Turnout 702,189
Democratic hold Swing


  1. ^ "U.S. Senate: West Virginia". CNN. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 

External links[edit]