Last updated: July 18. 2013 1:41PM - 127 Views
Seth Borenstein
AP Science Writer

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Democrats have held the majority in the West Virginia House of Delegates since 1928. As recently as five years ago, there were 72 Democrats in the House and only 28 Republicans.

But since 2007, the party has lost 18 House seats — including as many as 11 in this election.

The next legislative session could begin with a 54-46 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the House. …

As Daily Mail Capital Reporter Ry Rivard reported, the recriminations are flying.

Did the tip-top of the ticket kill enthusiasm at the bottom? After all, President Barack Obama didn’t win a single county in the Mountain State.

Nah. Sen. Joe Manchin won his U.S. Senate race and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin retained the governorship.

Was it party leadership and state Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio, as House Health and Human Resources Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, charged?

Was it that Republicans had more money coming in from their national party and from out-of-state political action committees, as Puccio contended?

Or was it House leadership, as Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, ventured?

Skaff said many Democrats fear loss of the majority if Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, stays in control.

“Members are concerned that they need protection going into this session,” Skaff told Rivard. “If they continue the status quo, they fear not returning in two years.”

That’s a more accurate diagnosis.

West Virginians want better results than they are getting - in the economy, in job creation, in income, in public schools, in highways and on other fronts.

The House, under Thompson, has passed important changes in tax policy, but in other respects has failed to make needed changes. The House Education Committee, which Thompson controls, has been where education reform goes to die.

House members choose their speaker. They’ll sort this out.

But West Virginians have already voted, and they seem in a hurry for change.

Distributed by The Associated Press

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