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The 2004 West Virginia gubernatorial election took place on November 2, 2004 for the post of Governor of West Virginia. Democratic Secretary of State of West Virginia Joe Manchin defeated Republican Monty Warner.


Democratic primary

Democratic governor Bob Wise became the first governor of West Virginia not to stand for re-election since the Constitution of West Virginia was amended in 1970 to permit two consecutive terms.[1] In August 2003 he announced that he would not stand again after admitting to an affair with a state employee.[2]

West Virginia Secretary of State Joe Manchin challenged Wise for the Democratic nomination, and after Wise withdrew from the race he became favorite for the primary.[3] Manchin lined up support from various sources including labour leaders in order to reverse his defeat in the gubernatorial primary in 1996. His main opponent in the primary was former State Senator Lloyd Jackson, who launched his campaign with a plan to reduce insurance costs.[4] In the run up to the primary the two candidates traded negative advertising but Manchin won an easy victory in the primary on May 11.[5]

Candidate # of votes  % of votes
Joe Manchin 149,362 52.7
Lloyd Jackson 77,052 27.2
Jim Lees 40,161 14.2
Lacy Wright, Jr 4,963 1.8
Jerry Baker 3,009 1.1
James Baughman 2,999 1.1
Phillip Frye 2,892 1.0
Louis Davis 2,824 1.0

Source: 2004 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election Results - West Virginia

Republican primary

The Republican primary saw 10 candidates competing for the nomination. Six of the candidates met in a debate in March 2004, in which they agreed on the need to reduce the size of the West Virginia state government.[6] It saw a close race between three main candidates: Monty Warner, a retired army colonel and developer, Rob Capehart, a former state tax secretary, and Dan Moore, a former banker and car dealer.[5] A poll conducted during the lead-up to the primary showed the three candidates virtually even.[7] Warner won a narrow victory in the primary over Moore and Capehart.[6]

Candidate # of votes  % of votes
Monty Warner 26,041 22.9
Dan Moore 22,748 20.0
Rob Capehart 19,694 17.3
Richard Robb 11,824 10.4
Douglas McKinney 10,476 9.2
Larry Faircloth 9,123 8.0
Joseph Oliverio 7,687 6.8
James Radcliffe, Jr 3,013 2.7
Charles Railey 2,345 2.1
Carroll Bowden, Sr 925 0.8

Source: 2004 Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election Results - West Virginia


Early in the campaign, Warner called for Manchin, as a centrist Democrat, to endorse President George W. Bush for re-election over his Democratic rival John Kerry.[8] Manchin's campaign spokesperson responded that Manchin backed "the Democratic nominee".[8]

The two main candidates faced each other in three debates and one town hall meeting. Jesse Johnson, the Mountain Party candidate, unsuccessfully attempted to get the West Virginia Supreme Court to cancel the first debate, as he was not asked to take part.[9]

Manchin had an edge in the election with better name recognition and a strong financial advantage over Warner. In the closing weeks of the election campaign, Manchin spent $3.3 million against $880,000 by Warner.[10]

Election results

2004 gubernatorial election, West Virginia[11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin 472,758 63.5 +13.4
Republican Monty Warner 253,131 34.0 -13.2
Mountain Jesse Johnson 18,430 2.5 +0.9
Write-in Simon McClure 114 0.02 +0.01
Majority 219,627 29.5 +26.6
Turnout 744,433 63.7 +2.9
Democratic hold Swing


  1. ^ "West Virginia election results 2004". The Washington Post. 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  
  2. ^ "More governors join exodus from statehouses". USA Today. 2003-08-13. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  
  3. ^ "Not So Wise". The Washington Post. 2003-06-24. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  
  4. ^ "Jackson files for governor in West Virginia". Herald Mail. 2004-01-13. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  5. ^ a b "Manchin wins W. Va. gubernatorial nod". USA Today. 2004-05-12. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  6. ^ a b "Governor hopefuls take part in debate". Herald Mail. 2004-03-26. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  7. ^ "Candidates Face Off in W.Va. Primary". Fox News Channel. 2004-05-11.,2933,119639,00.html. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  8. ^ a b "Purple People Watch". The American Prospect. 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  9. ^ "Candidates Face Off in WV Gubernatorial Debate". WTAP-TV. 2004-10-06. Retrieved 2008-05-17.  
  10. ^ "West Virginia". The New York Times. 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  
  11. ^ "2004 Gubernatorial General Election Results - West Virginia". Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2008-05-16.  

See also



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