That would be Senate President-elect Bill Cole of West Virginia. Elected to the Senate in 2012 he was immediately made Minority Leader by the Republican Minority Caucus. They were down by a 10 to 24 margin, with 17 seats up in 2014. Of the 12 Democrats running, he had to take out seven to get even. Beating entrenched incumbent majority State Senators is hard. Unless they’ve screwed up, it’s really hard. Taking out seven of twelve is ridiculously hard.
The hardest part is convincing people it can be done. You’ve got to identify your targets, and recruit candidates. Good candidates, that will raise money, run a good campaign, and make a very significant personal sacrifice. Damn few people will do that — take on an incumbent State Senator — unless they’re convinced not only that they can win, but they can get in the majority, where you can actually accomplish something. I know very little about Cole. He’s a successful businessman who currently owns a car dealership. Not a lot of political experience. But he has got to be one hell of a salesman.
He’s also got to be a very smart guy, which bodes well for Article V. Overington is unsure about his position on our resolution. He may not have had a chance to make much of a pitch to him. But since there is little doubt that we’ll have overwhelming Republican support in the Assembly — Overington has close to majority of the Assembly as co-sponsors — I’m sure he will give it careful consideration when it comes to the Senate. As long as he has an open mind, and a good one, we should get his support.
We get support from establishment Republicans and Tea Party Republicans, from middle of the road to hard right. We really only lose to Birch/Eagle Forum Republicans, or legislators from districts which have a lot of these people in them. I don’t think West Virginia has many of these people at all.
When I was House Minority Leader in Alaska in the mid-80’s, I tried to do what Senator Cole did. It was hard, really hard. I never came close.
In my opinion Senator Cole’s victory will be what puts us over the top. In the worst case scenario, we only get to 34 with West Virginia. Because of him, we won ‘t need a single Democrat in any of our target states.
I say it’s wise to expect the worst. That way you won’t be disappointed.