GOPAC’s Races to Watch: West Virginia House of Delegates

What was once a long-time Democratic stronghold has now become one of the Republican Party’s best opportunities for a GOP majority as the increasingly liberal, job-killing policies of West Virginia House Democrats threaten economic growth in the state. Increased regulation on the coal industry through cap and trade legislation, the failure to address welfare reform and cuts in education are all major failures by the state’s Democrats in recent years. These issues are particularly responsible for sparking West Virginia voters to send a strong message and give pro-jobs Republicans an opportunity come November.

With Obama’s approval ratings hovering in the teens in most parts of the state, it is clear that West Virginians are tired of Democrats voting against its citizens, against small business and in favor of big government. This year Republicans are running on a bold platform to create jobs in West Virginia – through tax reform, education reform, elections and ethics reform, a focus on infrastructure and legal and regulatory reform.

While Democrats currently hold a 53-47 majority, the House GOP caucus is the largest it’s been in over 30 years, and Republicans need just 4 seats to win a majority in the 100-member House of Delegates this year. In 2012, Republicans picked up 11 seats as voters signaled their readiness for pro-jobs, common-sense policies to help get West Virginia’s economy growing again.

A strong top of the ticket with Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and an impressive slate of candidates, the Top Races to Watch in the West Virginia House of Delegates center on seven GOP candidates. These seven races are key to the four seat gain needed by Republicans to win a majority this November and start getting West Virginia back on track:

House District 17: Dr. Matt Rohrbach (R)

  • House District 17: Cabell County (part), Wayne County (part)
  • GOP Challenging Democratic Incumbents in multi-member district

GOPAC Republican Matt Rohrbach is facing two Democrat incumbents to win a seat in this two-member district.

A well-known doctor and small business owner for over 24 years, Matt Rohrbach is running to create a better regulatory and legal climate in West Virginia in order to help businesses grow and produce better jobs. Dr. Rohrbach also sees the importance of creating a healthier community by addressing solutions to curb illicit drug use, an epidemic in the region.

While House Democrats voted to support Obamacare – and thus higher cost and less choice for West Virginia’s residents – Dr. Rohrbach believes we need a doctor in leadership who will fight to protect West Virginians’ rights to make personal choices about their own health care.

Learn more about Dr. Matt Rohrbach.

House District 2: Ryan Weld (R) vs Delegate Phil Diserio (D)

  • House District 2: Brooke County (part), Ohio County (part)
  • GOP Challenging Democratic Incumbent

GOPACRepublican Ryan Weld is running for office in the 2nd District seat, facing Democratic incumbent Phil Diserio who narrowly won in 2012 by 270 votes.

Ryan Weld is currently studying law at Duquesne University and works as a Legal Assistant in the Brooke County Prosecutor’s Office. Prior to perusing a law degree, Ryan spent 8 years as either a civilian in the U.S. Intelligence Community, or on active duty as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Being a Captain in the United States Air Force has taught Ryan the importance of effective leadership, which is exactly what is needed in Charleston.

Growing up in a family who has a history of public service, Ryan is running to revive West Virginia business by reforming taxes, regulation and litigation. Additionally, Ryan is focused on effective education reform, including investment in students and teachers, as well as shrinking the cost and size of government in the state.

Learn more about Ryan Weld.

House District 33: Roger Hanshaw (R) vs Delegate David Walker (D)

  • House District 33: Calhoun County, Clay County (part), Gilmer County (part)
  • GOP challenging Democratic incumbent

GOPAC Clay County native, Republican Roger Hanshaw, is an attorney and small business owner in West Virginia’s 33rd House District. Hanshaw is running to unseat Democratic State Delegate David Walker this November in a district where Mitt Romney won 65% of the vote in 2012.

As an attorney, Roger specializes in environmental and regulatory issues which include defending businesses against government overreach and regulation. In the last five years, Clay County has lost hundreds of mining jobs which, in turn, has stifled growth in the region. Roger believes that there are ways to utilize these economic opportunities without harming the environment. In Charleston, he will stand up against overregulation and the Obama administration’s EPA.

In addition to Hanshaw’s experience defending West Virginia’s important coal, agriculture, energy and natural gas industries; he is also heavily involved in his community as a member of the West Virginia Farm Bureau State Board of Directors and Clay County Farm Bureau, as well as a part owner of a small hardware store.

Learn more about Roger Hanshaw.

House District 65: Jill Upson (R) vs Delegate Tiffany Lawrence (D)

  • House District 65: Jefferson County
  • GOP Challenging Democratic Incumbent

GOPAC The GOP is looking for another pick-up in Jefferson County’s single-member District 65 as Republican Jill Upson runs to unseat Democratic incumbent Delegate Tiffany Lawrence. In 2012, Upson lost by less than 300 votes.

A retail manager with more than a decade of private sector experience, Upson is running to revitalize the business climate in the state and help West Virginia create jobs. Upson is also a military wife and mother, and has earned the endorsement from the West Virginians for Life PAC and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

She is guided by a platform based on the principles of “individual liberty, limited government, low taxes, adherence to the Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and love of family, community, country.”

Learn more about Jill Upson.

House District 36: Brad White (R)

  • House District 36: Kanawha County (part)
  • GOP Challenging Democratic Incumbents in multi-member district

GOPAC In this multi-member House District, Republican Brad White is running to win one of the three delegate seats in District 36. The three member district is currently held by Democratic incumbents seeing re-election.

As a small business owner, Brad White will be an advocate for job creators in the region. He has experienced first-hand the job killing regulations that Democrats have imposed on businesses in the Kanawha Valley. Brad believes the Obama administration’s ‘War on Coal’ is doing all it can to put unfair regulations on West Virginian’s and destroy jobs that drive the economy.

With three Democrat incumbents with vulnerable voting records running for re-election, this district has been trending Republican and is one of the best chances of a GOP pick-up.

Learn more about Brad White.

House District 47: Danny Wagner (R) vs Tammy Stemple (D)

  • House District 47: Wood County (part), Barbour County, Tucker County (part)
  • Open Seat, GOP pick-up opportunity

GOPAC A retired High School teacher and coach, Republican Danny Wagner is running in the 47th House District this year against Democrat Tammy Stemple. With Democrats coming off a heated primary in this district, in order to preserve a majority, they must hold on to this open-seat where Mitt Romney picked up 74% of the vote in 2012.

With more than 30 years experience as a teacher, Wagner is committed to improving education in the state. With House Democrats cutting spending on education in the 2014 budget, having the most qualified teachers in the classroom has become difficult. Wagner will bring his experiences to office to ensure children in the state are getting the best education possible.

With Obama’s favorability rating around 18% in this district, voters understand that the job killing regulations of the EPA have become the biggest threat to getting the state back on the right track. Wagner sees the frightening overreach Washington, DC has in West Virginia, and if elected, will fight against Big Government to ensure, “mountaineers are always free.”

Learn more about Danny Wagner.


House District 49: Amy Summers (R) vs Delegate Mike Manypenny (D)

  • House District 49: Marion County (part), Monongalia County (part), Taylor County (part)
  • GOP Challenging Democratic Incumbent

GOPAC Republican Amy Summers will try to unseat Democratic incumbent Mike Manypenny in House District 49. Delegate Manypenny won by 407 votes in 2012 but is seen as vulnerable due to his sponsorship of legislation supporting increased taxes and fees and job killing regulation on industry.

As a mother, volunteer paramedic, nurse and small business owner, Amy Summers will put people before politics in Charleston. As the Medical Examiner for Taylor County, she understands the effects increased substance abuse has had on the community.

Summers sees the economy, substance abuse, education and infrastructure as the top concerns that must be addressed.

Learn more about Amy Summers.