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Huntington High Hosts Q&A For 3rd District Candidates

Reported: Apr. 16, 2014 5:34 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 16, 2014 6:39 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - U.S. News and World Report calls it one of the three hottest congressional races to watch in 2014: The battle for West Virginia's third district seat.

Nick Rahall has been in office since Jimmy Carter was president. However, if Rahall is to win a 20th term in November, he'll have to overcome both a primary opponent and a tough GOP challenger.

Rahall, fellow Democrat Richard Ojeda and Republican Evan Jenkins participated in a question and answer session at Huntington High School.

"Get involved with your member of Congress," Rahall said. "Now I'm not saying that you agree with me a hundred percent on every vote I've cast over my career."

While the incumbent is expected to easily win the primary, the general election looks a bit closer. State senator Evan Jenkins, who left the Democrats to hook up with the GOP, has money in the bank and strong support from outside Republican groups. They've already started pouring big money into the state through TV ads.

However, the Democrats also read the polls. They're answering with ads of their own.

"That's the worst part of a campaign," Jenkins said. "Is having outside groups that are trying to help the incumbent attack me and my credibility."

While Rahall won't have an unpopular president at the top of the ballot to contend with, he will have to defend his recent record, which includes votes the Republican said approves a carbon tax which will hurt the state's coal industry.

Political pundits, including Roll Call's Stu Rothenberg and "The Cook Report," have rated the 3rd District race between "Leaning Democrat" to "Toss-up."

Jenkins and his followers hope the district's recent history of voting Republican in presidential elections will trickle down to help get him to Washington.



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