Democrat Mike Oliverio drops out of West Virginia rematch with Rep. David McKinley

By westvirginia on December 16, 2011
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Pictured, from left to right, former state Senator Mike Oliverio (D-Monongalia) and U.S. Rep. David McKinley. (Courtesy photos)

By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog

CHARLESTON — In a surprise announcement, former state Sen. Mike Oliverio announced today that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.

Oliverio, a Democrat from Monongalia County, announced on his Facebook page that he would not run again for the seat formerly held by Alan Mollohan and now held by Rep. David McKinley, a Republican.

“I have decided today to not declare myself a candidate for Congress in 2012,” Oliverio said to supporters and friends. “I sincerely appreciate the hard work and contributions of individuals, organizations and friends like you these past two years! This has not been an easy decision for me, but I believe it is the right one for my family.”

Oliverio, who first served in the House of Delegates in 1993 and the state Senate from 1995 to 2000, first announced his congressional intentions on West Virginia MetroNews Talkline Sept. 6.

Oliverio first ran for Congress in 2010, challenging former Rep. Alan Mollohan in the Democratic primary. Mollohan, who served in Congress from 1983 to 2011, was defeated by Oliverio by seven points, winning 34 percent to 26 percent.

In the general election Olivero faced architect David McKinley of Wheeling. Oliverio was criticized for running to the right of Mollohan and saying he couldn’t support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), but quickly changed tactics and ran to the left of McKinley. The tactic failed, with McKinley defeating Oliverio by only 1,440 votes in a national wave that put Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives.

Leading up to his September announcement, Oliverio had been active during the redistricting special session, working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to get the 1st Congressional District redrawn in a way friendlier towards Democrats.

The only Democrat left in the race is Sue Thorn, a former Organizing for America employee that state progressives were pushing as the alternative to Oliverio, seen as too conservative.

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Posted under Congress, Elections, Federal, News, Politics, U.S. House of Representatives, West Virginia.
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