With three Republican candidates — John Yoder, Larry Faircloth and Patrick Morrisey — running for statewide offices, Capito expects that will help Eastern Panhandle turnout “tremendously.”
Compared to the other regions of the state, Capito noted the Panhandle also enjoys the advantage of having a high level of Republicans and independent voters. More than 63,000 of the 100,763 registered voters in Berkeley and Jefferson counties were either Republican or not a member of any party, according to June registration totals maintained by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office.
“And (the independent) voters are the ones I think we’re going to attract this time,” Capito said.
“They’re not satisfied with what’s going on,” Capito said. “They know they want a change from the president on down and that’s where I think we’re going to make some great inroads.”
Capito said she intends to work as hard as she always has in her bid for election, and intends to place significant emphasis on the Eastern Panhandle, as she always has.
“(I) would not be in Congress were it not for the Panhandle,” Capito said.
Even with the advantages, Berkeley County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Mick Staton said more needs to be done to increase turnout to help improve the chances that the GOP’s statewide candidates will win.
Given the belief that Mitt Romney will not have to campaign in West Virginia to win the state in November, Staton said he is going to try to get Sarah Palin to visit to help drum up excitement for state and local candidates.
While the candidates benefit, Staton noted that turnout in Berkeley County will not be helped by the lack of Democratic opponents in state House and Senate races. Five out of eight Republicans vying to represent at least part of Berkeley County in the Legislature have no opponent.
“We need excitement from our local candidates,” Staton said.
Anne Dungan, Staton’s counterpart in Jefferson County, said the party will have a get-out-the-vote coordinator for the county.
Dungan said she believes this election poses the best chance yet for Republicans to make gains statewide.
Yoder, who is running for state Supreme Court, nearly won a seat on the bench two years ago, she noted.
Berkeley County Democratic Women’s Club President Heather Marshall said she thinks there is a “ton” of excitement among members of the party for local candidates. Marshall said the women’s club’s membership is up about 25 percent.
Marshall said she feels as if the party is more organized this year and intends to take advantage of strategies that previously weren’t tapped.
“People know there’s a lot at stake,” Marshall said.
The Democratic Party will open its own headquarters on Queen Street about a block away from the GOP office later this month, Marshall said.