CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall has won his 19th consecutive term in West Virginia.
Rahall fought off a challenge from Republican Delegate Rick Snuffer to win on Tuesday.
Snuffer had tried to portray Rahall as a congressman who hadn't fought hard enough against the Obama administration and federal regulators when it comes to coal policies.
The first-term state delegate lost to Rahall in 2004, too.
Rahall has said the coal industry is his No. 1 concern. But he's argued for diversifying the southern West Virginia economy and retraining laid-off miners for jobs in industries such as oil and gas, timbering, agriculture, tourism, technology and health services.
The seat for West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District has been occupied by Democrat Rep. Nick Rahall for 36 years, but this time his opponent, Republican nominee Rick Snuffer, thinks he has what it takes to win.
"I think the people realize the president doesn't respect our way of life here in southern West Virginia, and they're realizing that a vote for Congressmen Rahall is a vote for President Obama," says Mr. Snuffer.
Still Rep. Rahall insists that the people will decide for themselves.
"People are intelligent, and they can make their own decision. They can look at each candidate and discern themselves who merits their support," says Rep. Rahall.
No matter who is elected, both hope to bring positive change to southern West Virginia.
"We've got to reverse the policies that have been against coal. I mean that's our economy here and nationally. It's part of our national energy policy. It's part of our national security policy," says Mr. Snuffer.
"We want to help diversify our economy and find other industries upon which we can rely on as well," says Rep. Rahall. "We do have those other industries in West Virginia. We just have to give them the attention they deserve."
With the polls opening, both parties are approaching election day with a positive attitude.
"I've gotten a good reception throughout this campaign, throughout this year, so that what leads me to have great deal of confidence," says Rep. Rahall.
"Losing is not an option. I mean there is no plan B," says Mr. Snuffer.
WVVA News will have the race covered from both sides Tuesday night. Caroline Bach and Robert Pauley will have reaction from both Snuffer and Rahall camps in Beckley.
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