CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – For the first time since 1932, there are more registered Republican voters in West Virginia than Democrats. So what does that mean for the future of politics in the Mountain State?
The latest voter registration numbers from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office show the red wave that has swept the Mountain State over the past decade now includes historic gains in Republican voter registration numbers.
Acting Chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, Roman Stauffer, says “For many many years and decades our folks have worked very hard to register Republicans across the state of West Virginia. And as of this morning our party is the largest political party in West Virginia.”
Stauffer attributes the milestone to the values the WV GOP holds. “Lower taxes, controlling the size of government, pro-life issues and I think legislators, whether they’re at the state capitol or in Washington D.C. They want the folks who represent West Virginia to govern like Republicans.”
However, former West Virginia Governor Candidate and Co-chair for the West Virginia Can’t Wait Movement Stephen Smith says history shows a different trend. “If you look at the long-term history over the last 25 years, the real change has been in the enormous increase in people who stay home, and people who register with neither party.”
Smith adds that West Virginian’s shouldn’t get caught up in parties, but policies. “The democrats were in charge for 82 years and life got worse. Republicans have been in charge for 6 years and life got worse.. That most of us think its time to stop trusting the leadership of either party and do things ourselves.”
For now, Republicans have super-majorities in both the House and Senate this legislative session. and Stauffer thinks the future of the republican party in the state looks promising.
“We’re going to continue to work to reach out to those voters they still have an important voice in our party and listen to them. And hopefully make West Virginia a better place to raise a family, to start a business, to work and to retire, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”Roman Stauffer, Acting Chairman – West Virginia Republican Party
According to the West Virginia Republican Party’s own research. The top five counties that gained the most number of new registered republicans in 2020 were: Berkeley, Kanawha, Raleigh, Mercer and Wood.