The victory assures West Virginia’s first congressional district will have a new representative next year, for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Since 1982, Alan Mollohan has represented West Virginia’s first congressional district in Washington.
But that era will soon come to an end. Mollohan lost his bid for re-election in the Democratic primary Tuesday.
State senator Mike Oliverio will represent the party in the general election.
“I want to say 'Congressman Mollohan, thank you for your many years of service to West Virginia,'” Oliverio said.
“We’re forever indebted to him for his service, I personally have a great deal of respect for him, and hope to have an opportunity to work with him during the period of transition, and also would like to have his support in the fall.”
Oliverio says he wants to bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington.
“We think we have a strong message, a message of restoring integrity, and just as that has resonated in the primary, we think that will again resonate in the fall,” he said.
For several weeks, Mollohan and Oliverio engaged in a bitter primary campaign, attacking each other through television ads.
Oliverio pointed to Mollohan’s record as one of the most corrupt members of Congress, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Oliverio also pointed to a Justice Department investigation against Mollohan that ended in January with no charges being filed against Mollohan.
Mollohan pointed to Oliverio’s membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group Mollohan described as right-wing.
Mollohan says the negativity might have affected the outcome.
“Negative works, and I think that you can’t discount that,” he said, “but I think we’ll have to step back and look at the dynamics at play.”
“They will certainly be the mood of the country, the unease of people with regard to legislation, and the negative attacks.”
Mollohan congratulated Oliverio when he spoke to supporters at the Ramada Inn in Morgantown Tuesday evening.
He thanked his family and staff, and pledged to continue to work for residents in the congressional district.
“I feel good in my heart. We feel like we have worked really hard, and we have done many good things in the first congressional district,” he said.
“Any way that we can be helpful in the future, we want to be.”
With nearly 30 years in the congressional delegation for West Virginia, Mollohan says he isn’t sure what comes next for him.
“What’s next the next six, seven, eight months is make sure we do a good job representing the people of the first congressional district of West Virginia,” he said.
“I don’t know what comes next after that, we’ll have to think about that.”
Oliverio will now face David McKinley in the general election.
McKinley beat five other candidates in the Republican primary Tuesday.
McKinley says he is ready for the general election.
“Let’s try another approach, and another way of doing business in Congress,” McKinley said.
“There has to be change, and it may not be the kind of change that Obama was looking for, but it’s the change nevertheless that we deserve to have in West Virginia.”