“This issue is going to be at the very forefront, particularly in our federal races,” said West Virginia GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas. “Any Democrat is going to have to have some form of allegiance to the Democratic establishment to receive support. The carbon issue will be the first question anyone is asked here in the Senate race. … This issue is yet another one that backs them into a corner.”
Democrats in Washington note that a host of their candidates in 2012 — in states from Ohio to Virginia and Montana — survived onslaughts of energy-focused attacks.
But Kentucky Democratic consultant Jim Cauley, who managed Steve Beshear’s successful campaign for governor, said he is “absolutely worried” about Obama’s new push. He stressed that Ohio and Virginia are less economically dependent on coal than Kentucky, where Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces reelection next year…
West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican running for Senate, said Obama’s speech is “an exclamation point” on his 2008 suggestion that he wanted to bankrupt companies that tried to build new coal-fired plants.
“He can’t get congressional approval for this agenda so he’s going to forge ahead like he has on a lot of other things, ignoring the will of the people to satisfy his environmental friends,” she said in an interview.
Capito has no declared Democratic opponent yet, but she said the announcement Tuesday will become a big issue no matter what position he or she stakes out.
“Certainly on a national level any Democrat is going to have this anti-coal, environmental agenda all around their neck because their leader is the president,” she said. “I don’t think I can overdramatize how difficult this agenda is for states like ours.”