Editorial: Rahall still the best choice for U.S. House from 3rd District
Nick Rahall won his 18th term in Congress in 2010, defeating Republican and former state Supreme Court Justice Spike Maynard with 56 percent of the vote.
Most representatives would view that as a comfortable margin, but it was actually the first time Rahall had polled less than 60 percent of the vote since 1990 when Republican Marianne R. Brewster gave him a scare.
So, it is not surprising that this year's race against challenger Rick Snuffer of Bluefield has drawn more attention, both inside and outside of the state. That also means an uptick in the spending and negative advertising by national special interest groups.
But voters should not get too distracted by the mud slinging and efforts to make this race a part of the presidential campaign.
Rahall has been a strong advocate for southern West Virginia for 36 years, and TV spots cannot change that.
The veteran congressman knows the importance of West Virginia's coal industry. He has opposed the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency, and broken ranks with his party to block efforts to ban mountaintop removal mining and get mining permits approved. But Rahall also understands the fine line of protecting lives as well as jobs, and he has worked hard for mine safety, as well.
Some have criticized his vote for health care reform, but he feels the legislation contained several important steps that most West Virginians support -- allowing children up to 26 years old time to stay on their parents insurance coverage and eliminating pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying insurance coverage, for example. He stands ready to work on improving the bills to address voters' concerns.
Rahall also pledges to support bipartisan efforts to balance the federal budget.
"I believe compromise is part of the process in our country that gets things done," he told The Herald-Dispatch's editorial board this fall.
It is also important for voters to remember the congressman's outstanding constituent service and work for the district. From Pullman Square to Marshall University to the new intermodal project in Wayne County, Rahall has been a driving force behind a host of positive projects for our region.
This election day, Rahall is still the best choice for the 3rd District.