In the last three presidential elections, West Virginians have gone Republican — but they have remained decidedly Democratic in state races.
But change has been coming for a long time.
Of the state’s 1,230,585 registered voters, 51.9 percent are Democrats. That is down from 66.2 percent a mere 20 years ago.
In the 1992 primary, the state had 600,794 Democrats, 277,798 Republicans and 29,399 independents.
Since then, the West Virginia electorate has added roughly 38,000 Democrats, 75,000 Republicans and 185,000 independents — as well as almost 24,000 third-party voters.
In short, the state added 38,000 Democratic voters and 284,000 non-Democratic voters in 20 years.
Only one of the 11 statewide elected officials, Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin, is a Republican, but party registration changes should make Democrats nervous.
Eventually how West Virginians vote for president will align with how they vote for other offices.
— Distributed by The Associated Press