Winning an Election in West Virginia - House District 58

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Winning an Election in West Virginia - House District 58

House District 58 in West Virginia consists of Hampshire and Morgan county and is part of the greater Winchester metro area. Republican Representative George Miller represents it. The research will explore a demographic analysis of the area, dive deep into the core issues facing the population concerning the election, and explore campaign failures in the district's recent past based on the core issues the area faces. Finally, it will look at the recent past campaign successes based on the core issues mentioned in the research.

Demographic Analysis of House District 58 in the State of West Virginia, US.

Age

  • The District has a general population of 19,816 people and 8,129 households.
  • The median age for the state is 47.3 yrs.
  • 60% of the population being between the age of 18 and 54 this accounts for 8,168 people.
  • Those under the age of 18 take up 19% of the population accounting for 3,214 people.
  • The population that is 65 and above takes up 21% of the population accounting for 3,844 people.

Gender

  • Males are 49% of the population, while Females hold 51% of the population.

Income

  • The median household income is $51,615.
  • Those who earn under 50,000 are estimated to be about 49%, while those who earn between 50,000 and 100,000 are estimated at 31%, with a margin error of at least 10 percent of the total value.
  • The population that earns between 100,000 and 200,000 is estimated to be around 17%, while those earning 200,000 and above are estimated to be at only 2%, with a margin error of at least 10 percent of the total value.

Education levels achieved

  • The education level achieved was estimated for people aged 25 years and older.
  • 86.6% of the population have a high school degree and higher. Those with a higher degree being 22.1% while, those who only have a high school diploma being 60.9%, and those with no high school diploma are 17%of the population.
  • A detailed representation of education levels achieved is as follows; for doctorate 0.7%, 95 people , professional 0.2% 24 people , master's 4.6% 656 people, bachelor's 10.2% 1,436 people , associate's 6.4% 906 people , some College 14.8% 2,086 people , high School 46.1% 6.509 people , some part of high school 11.4% 1,615 people , less than high school 3.9% 550 people, people with no education level achieved 1.7 % 233 people.

Race and Ethnicity

  • They mostly have white residents who take up 97.1 % of the population, which adds up to 18,000 people.
  • Hispanic people with 0.6% at 108 people.
  • Black Americans with 0.9% with 161 people.
  • People of Asian descent at 0.3%, totaling 55 people.
  • Mixed residences are at 1.1%, with a total of 205 people.
  • People of other races and ethnicities 0.1%, with only 13 people.

Political party affiliation and views (conservative, moderate, liberal)

  • Political ideology among adults shows that those who are conservative are about 47% of the population, while those who are moderate take up 30% of the population.
  • On the other side, liberals take up 16% of the population, while those that don't know their affiliation take up 6%.
  • Democratic Party is the center-left and liberal party, and those that support the party are 39%.
  • Those with no lean take up 16% of the population.
  • The Republican Party is the center-right conservative party and has the highest number of supporters, with 45% of the population being affiliated with the Republican Party.

Core issues for the population with Regard to the Election

Issue #1: Employment

  • West Virginia has historically been one of the country's poorest states, with consistently low income and high poverty levels, and this trend has continued to the present day. This can be attributed to their jobs not paying a living wage.
  • West Virginia has also replaced high-wage jobs with low-wage jobs, contributing to decades of stagnant wage growth.
  • In 2014 a bill to raise the minimum wage by a meager $1.50 from the current $7.25 to $8.75 an hour was passed. In 2020 West Virginia’s unemployment rate was 12.9%, which is not great but slightly improved from 15.2% in previous years.
  • Morgan town has an unemployment rate of 4.5%. The US average is 3.7%. Hampshire County has an unemployment rate of 3.8%. The US average is 3.7%.
  • The Former president in 2018 claimed that he was "very proud" of the state and claimed that he "turned West Virginia around." His administration has focused on reviving jobs in the coal industry, which has added about 2,000 jobs across the U.S. since Mr. Trump's inauguration.
  • In Hampshire County, in the years between (2015-2018), 807 contributions totaled $39,931 to the Democratic Party and liberal campaigns, averaging $49 per contribution.
  • 170 contributions totaling $22,924 to the Republican Party and conservative campaigns, averaging $135 per contribution.
  • In Morgantown, in the years between (2015-2018), 34,066 contributions totaled $1,330,125 to the Democratic Party and liberal campaigns, averaging $39 per contribution.
  • There were 3,034 contributions totaling $2,201,441 to the Republican Party and conservative campaigns, averaging $726 per contribution.

Issue #2: Opioid Crisis

  • Opioids are a class of medications naturally found in the opium poppy plant and act in the brain to cause a range of effects. They are commonly used to relieve mild to extreme pain by blocking pain signals between the brain and the body.
  • The use of licit and illicit opioids has drastically increased over the last decade. The epicenter has been West Virginia, with the highest overdose rates accounting for 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people among the 33,091 deaths in 2015.
  • Reasons for this opioid epidemic incidence in West Virginia have been a combination of sociocultural factors, a depressed economy, lack of education, and a high rate of prescribing and dispensing of prescription opioids.
  • Ayne Amjad said, "The majority of voters in West Virginia voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and she said she feels it's because both Democrats and Republicans wanted a change."
  • In Hampshire County, in the years between (2015-2018), 807 contributions totaled $39,931 to the Democratic Party and liberal campaigns, averaging $49 per contribution.
  • 170 contributions totaling $22,924 to the Republican Party and conservative campaigns, averaging $135 per contribution.
  • In Morgantown, in the years between (2015-2018), 34,066 contributions totaled $1,330,125 to the Democratic Party and liberal campaigns, averaging $39 per contribution.
  • There were 3,034 contributions totaling $2,201,441 to the Republican Party and conservative campaigns, averaging $726 per contribution.

Campaign Failures in the Recent Past for the District Based on the Core Issues Identified

  • The research will look at the last four elections that have taken place in House District 58 in the state of West Virginia, US.
  • In 2014 Incumbent Daryl Cowles defeated Ryan Keyser in the Republican primary. Cowles defeated Brenda Hutchinson in the general election.
  • In 2016 Incumbent Daryl Cowles ran unopposed in the West Virginia House of Delegates District 58 general election.
  • In 2018 Incumbent Daryl Cowles defeated Bibi Hahn and Kent McCumbee in the general election for West Virginia House of Delegates District 58 on November 6, 2018.
  • In 2020, George Miller defeated Tom Harden in the general election for West Virginia House of Delegates District 58 on November 3, 2020.

Candidate #1: Brenda Hutchinson

  • Brenda Hutchinson registered as an independent candidate and picked up enough valid signatures to have her name placed on the ballot in West Virginia's 58th House of Delegates District.
  • Hutchinson favored increasing the minimum wage and was also opposed to the mountaintop removal of mining and fracking. Cowles was one of the House of Delegates members who voted against a $1.50 raise in the minimum wage over three years. Cowles stands for mountaintop removal and fracking.
  • She supported the 2014 bill to raise the minimum wage by a meager $1.50 from the current $7.25 to $8.75 an hour was passed. This would help with the employment problem in the region.
  • Even though the 2014 bill passed, Hutchinson did not have a clear political viewpoint. She said "that some people approached her and said they weren't happy with Cowles' decisions on the environment," her response was, "I told them if they can get enough signatures, and I get my name on the ballot, I would run."
  • Moreover, Cowles also favored expanding the homestead exemption property tax break for seniors from its current $20,000 to $45,000. He also favored streamlining the state's business tax structure which saw him snatch the general election.

Candidate #2: Bibi Hahn

  • On the Opioid Crisis, Hahn said, "the legalization of recreational marijuana would be a legislative priority in addition to fulfilling the Legislature's responsibility of passing the budget and directly related bills."
  • She proceeded to say that "Recreational marijuana could add $194 million annually in tax revenue, create thousands of jobs, and many business opportunities," Hahn said. "States with legal marijuana have realized a decrease in drug overdose deaths."
  • Hahn claimed that her top three priorities if elected would be :
  • 1) Put more money in West Virginians' pockets
  • 2) Solve the opioid crisis
  • 3) New revenue sources
  • Hahn failed during the election because Daryl Cowles, 48, of Berkeley Springs, wanted to eliminate the tax on Social Security income. "West Virginia is one of a diminishing number of states that tax social security income," he said.
  • The other reason was she ran for the position as a Democrat. The Republican Party has the highest number of supporters, with 45% of the population being affiliated with the Republican Party.

Campaign Successes in the Recent Past for the District Based on the Core Issues Identified

Candidate #1:George A. Miller

  • Miller (Republican Party) ran for election to the West Virginia House of Delegates to represent District 58. He won in the general election on November 3, 2020.
  • Miller believes that the major problem facing residents in the district is the long-reaching effects of the opioid crisis.
  • He posted a survey where people agreed that there was a need for more treatment and counseling services to treat opioid addiction.
  • He also believes that tourism in both counties, Hampshire and Morgan, offers great tourist attractions that generate revenue, this would help with the current employment problem.
  • Moreover, he maintains that the District's infrastructure needs attention. Claiming that people who took the survey also expressed this needs to be a priority.
  • However, he identified that the lack of industries in the district. Claiming that "we need to work at creating incentives to attract industry and generate a more solid tax base as well as create local job opportunities."

Candidate #2: Daryl E. Cowles.

  • Daryl Cowles (Republican Party) was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 58. He assumed office in 2006. He left office on November 30, 2020.
  • Cowles has held his office for 14 years and has had a significant impact on the district and community some major projects he initiated were;
  • $25 million Cacapon State Park addition and upgrade;
  • Major highway project with US522; Fairview Connector Road funded;
  • $55 million Natural Gas Infrastructure expansion; and more.
  • Throughout his term in office, jobs and the economy were his focus. He strives to improve the district's job outlook, workforce training, and education outcomes which are keys to diversification and a better future for the Mountain State residents.
  • Daryl's official position lead to his long-term success over the years, which has seen him serve longer than any other delegate. Being a Republican has also boosted his rating and chance to get back to the office since most residents in the district are Republican supporters.

Research Strategy

The research team, after extensive research, was able to find and answer the requested questions. However, when they were required to provide information regarding the location where democratic and republican pockets within the population may lie within the district, the research did not find the requested data. They proceeded to provide data for individual donations given to the parties for both core issues. The assumption was that while doing their campaigns, delegates would tackle both issues and thus have the same pool of funds. Data on political pockets in the area was not found since the majority of West Virginia residence are conservatives. The research team also found out that Democrats turn to local ordinances as their best chance on topics ranging from gun control to the minimum wage to transgender rights, with Republicans controlling the presidency, both houses of Congress, and most statehouses.

Research proposal:

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