Blankenship Money Doesn't Make a Difference

By: By: Scott Saxton and The Associated Press
By: By: Scott Saxton and The Associated Press

Democrats remain in charge of the West Virginia Legislature, thanks to voters who largely ignored a campaign by coal baron Don Blankenship to swing the advantage to the G-O-P.

Based on late returns, at least 24 House Democrats targeted for defeat by the Massey Energy chief survived their races, while 22 of the G-O-P challengers he aided fell short.

With all 100 House seats on the ballot, eleven seats were open thanks to departing lawmakers. Democrats held on to the Raleigh County seats of outgoing House Speaker Bob Kiss and of Delegate Sally Susman, who ran for a Senate seat but lost.

An ailing Margarette Leach of Cabell County was the only incumbent Democrat to fall in the House as her party sought to at least maintain their 68-seat margin.

Democrat Doug Reynolds picked up a seat in the neighboring 16th District, displacing Cabell County Republican Delegate Greg Howard.

Half of the 34 seats in the Senate were on the ballot with Democrats holding 21.

G-O-P Senator Russ Weeks of Raleigh County fell to greyhound breeder and former police officer Mike Green.

The Republican Party also lost a vacated Senate seat to former broadcaster Erik Wells in Kanawha County's Eighth District.

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