In W.Va., Pelosi is target for Democrat

May 11, 2010

By Joseph Weber, The Washington Times

Polls suggest that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s job may be in jeopardy after this fall’s midterm elections. In one West Virginia congressional district holding its primary Tuesday, that could be true even if the Democrat wins.

In one of the more creative expressions of anti-incumbent fever, state Sen. Mike Oliverio is giving 14-term incumbent Rep. Alan B. Mollohan a stiff challenge in the 1st District’s Democratic primary, and Mr. Oliverio is not sparing the Democratic speaker from California in his campaign.

Mr. Oliverio, 46, told a local newspaper that he would prefer to vote for a House speaker who has “the best interest” of the state. He later told voters at a local chamber of commerce dinner, “Hopefully, there will be a better candidate than Nancy Pelosi.”

The primary could foreshadow whether Democrats can limit their losses this fall in congressional and gubernatorial races. Mr. Mollohan, who has not faced a primary challenge since 1992 and did not even attract a Republican opponent in 2008, is under fire for unpopular votes for the 2008 economic bailout and for President Obama’s health care overhaul bill.

West Virginia and Nebraska are holding primaries Tuesday, and the Mollohan-Oliverio clash will be among the most closely watched contests.

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