This part of West Virginia has a history of sending people to the U.S. House of Representatives and keeping them there for a long time. In most people’s memory, that would be Ken Hechler, who served from 1959 to 1977, and Nick Joe Rahall from 1977 to 2015. The two Democrats served a combined 56 years.
Voters in the 3rd Congressional District went against tradition in 2014 and elected Republican Evan Jenkins to a term in the House. Jenkins won reelection in 2016. Before the 2018 election, he decided to leave his seat and become a member of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. He was succeeded by Carol Miller, another Republican.
This year Miller is up for re-election. Running against her is Hilary Turner, who like Miller is a Cabell County resident, and write-in candidate Belinda Fox-Spencer.
Miller represented this area in the state House of Delegates for 12 years before running for the U.S. House of Representatives. This is Turner’s first try at an elected office at this level.
The Herald-Dispatch endorses Miller in this year’s election. Miller brings a higher degree of knowledge of the political process than Turner. However, Miller suffers from being inaccessible. She avoids public appearances and media interviews. Thus it is difficult to engage with her.
Turner’s earnestness cannot be doubted, but she has not yet shown the background that is needed to be an effective member of the House. With preparation, she could be a better candidate in 2022.
Speaking of 2022, as has been noted on this page before, this could be the last year West Virginia has three seats in the House of Representatives. When the 435 available House seats are reapportioned once the 2020 census is completed, West Virginia may have only two seats because its population has held steady while most other states have seen increases.
If that happens, the Legislature will need to decide whether to divide the state into two districts on a north-south basis as is done now or on an east-west basis. Either way, the 2022 contests for the state’s two seats will be much different. It could work in Turner’s favor and against Miller, or it could be the other way around. Whoever wins this year could face an incumbent from one of the other two districts.
But that’s a scenario for 2022. This year, The Herald-Dispatch endorses Carol Miller for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.
For readers in the 2nd District, which includes Putnam County, The Herald-Dispatch offers no endorsement, as neither candidate is particularly noteworthy. In the 1st District, which covers the northern part of the state, The Herald-Dispatch endorses the incumbent, David McKinley.