Even the Experts Can't Call W.Va. Gubernatorial Race

Salena Zito
Columnist, Townhall.com
Oct 04, 2011

WHEELING, W.Va. -- Even the experts find the outcome of Tuesday's gubernatorial election in this state hard to predict. They're watching it, in part, to gauge the mood of the electorate.

This unsettled race matches acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, 59, against Republican Bill Maloney, 52, of Morgantown. Tomblin is a teacher and businessman from Chapmanville who spent 36 years in the legislature. Maloney, an industrial engineer and drilling company owner, is making his first run for political office.

The national parties invested time and money in this race -- the Democratic Governors Association and Republican Governors Association each spent more than $2 million -- in hopes of swaying the political narrative about how the results may indicate President Obama's political future.

Analysts consider Tomblin and Maloney, conservatives with similar campaign platforms, to be likeable candidates. Yet this election, they say, might not be about just the candidates. It could be colored by anti-incumbency filtering down from an increasing dislike of Washington's economic and domestic policies.

“The truth is I have no idea who is going to win on Tuesday,â€