WHEELING - Political pundit and columnist Dick Morris predicts a Republican will win West Virginia's 1st District congressional seat in 2010.
That's because Morris believes West Virginians hold to their conservative core beliefs, even as the Democratic Party has become more liberal under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
"In this election ... we have got to realize there is no longer any such thing as a conservative Democrat," Morris said. "It doesn't exist. I used to be one of them.
Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough
Dick Morris gives the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner attendees his prediction that West Virginia Democrat Alan Mollohan will lose his seat in Congress.
"When I worked for Bill Clinton, that's what I was. Now I'm extinct," he continued. "There are no more of me. I'm a dodo bird. Now you are either a Reid-Pelosi Democrat or you are a Republican."
Morris served as keynote speaker at the annual Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce dinner Tuesday.
Among those in attendance were Republican 1st District congressional candidates Patricia Levenson, David B. McKinley, Thomas Stark and Mac Warner, as well as Democratic candidate Mike Oliverio.
All are seeking the seat presently held by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.
Morris noted that he wrote a book titled "Outrage" in which he refers to Mollohan as the "single worst member of Congress."
"And that's quite an honor among 435 members," Morris said.
He cited Mollohan's increase in personal personal wealth - from $500,000 in 2000 to $6.3 million in 2007 - as reason for the distinction.
Morris also noted that since 1996, Mollohan has secured $250 million in earmarks and received $400,000 in campaign contributions from those associated with organizations receiving the money. A federal investigation of Mollohan's finances was dropped just days after he cast a vote in favor of health care reform legislation pushed by the White House and Democratic leadership.
Mollohan is "just the kind of person we need to get rid of in Washington, D.C.," Morris said.
He congratulated Oliverio, a state senator from Monongalia County, for what he believes will be "his beating of Mollohan" in the Democratic primary on May 11, but Morris still doesn't think a Democrat will go on to win the seat in the November general election.
From the podium, he challenged Oliverio to say that - if he is elected - he won't vote for Pelosi to continue as speaker in the next term of Congress.
Morris didn't seek a response from Oliverio.
"I will vote for the candidate in the best interest of West Virginia," Oliverio said following the event. "Hopefully, there will be a better candidate than Nancy Pelosi."