Although West Virginia was a regularly Democratic state, a handful of Republican politicians had been able to carry the state. Arch Moore was the best example during the 1970s and 1980s.
Following the primaries, the Democratic nominee led in the polls. Charlotte Pritt, who narrowly defeated Joe Manchin in the primary, had several important enemies in the Democratic Party. Gov. Caperton never forgave her for running a write-in campaign after losing to him in the 1992 Democratic primary.
The winner of the Republican primary, Cecil Underwood, was already a footnote in the state's history. He had been elected Governor in 1956 and was the youngest person to hold the post. After his term in office, he served as a college president and had worked to bring technology businesses to the state. If elected, Underwood would also become the state's oldest governor.
As the campaign unfolded, Underwood began to attack Pritt for having too many connections to liberal interests in the state. He charged that Pritt would initiate policies which would keep new technology businesses out of the state. His prescription was to reduce taxes and regulations on business.
Pritt pointed out that she had a friendly rapport with President Clinton and would be able to obtain federal funds for state projects. She called for collective bargaining among state employees and for corporations to pay more money to the state worker's compensation fund. However, moderate Democrats, particularly in the [More...]