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West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2004


West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2004

West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2004

November 2, 2004

Nominee Joe Manchin Monty Warner
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 472,758 253,131
Percentage 63.51% 34.00%

County Results

Governor before election

Bob Wise

Elected Governor

Joe Manchin

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]

On the Daily Show (2003-08-04), Phillip Frye told Rob Corddry that he wasn't qualified to be governor and he only ran to be a nuisance to Wise, because Wise had slept with his wife. Corddry also had an interview with candidate Louis Davis, whose main comment about the affair was that he would have chosen a better looking woman, and that she could use a nose-job, because her nose was huge. Davis also commented on the governor's dancing: "He looks like a monkey on a string, I'm serious. He looks so feminine, you know... effeminate."


Democratic primary results[6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Manchin 149,362 52.73
Democratic Lloyd M. Jackson II 77,052 27.20
Democratic Jim Lees 40,161 14.18
Democratic Lacy Wright, Jr. 4,963 1.75
Democratic Jerry Baker 3,009 1.06
Democratic James A. Baughman 2,999 1.06
Democratic Phillip Frye 2,892 1.02
Democratic Lou Davis 2,824 1.00
Total votes 283,262 100.00

Republican primary


  • Monty Warner, businessman
  • Dan Moore, banker and car dealership owner
  • Rob Capehart, former West Virginia Secretary of Tax and Revenue
  • Richard Robb, Mayor of South Charleston
  • Douglas McKinney, doctor
  • Larry Faircloth, West Virginia State Delegate
  • Joseph Oliverio, construction executive
  • James D. Radcliffe, Jr.
  • Charles D. Railey
  • Carroll B. Bowden, Sr.


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.[7] 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.[8] Warner won a narrow victory in the primary over Moore and Capehart.[7]


Republican primary results[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Monty Warner 26,041 22.87
Republican Dan R. Moore 22,748 19.98
Republican Rob Capehart 19,694 17.29
Republican Richard Robb 11,824 10.38
Republican Douglas E. McKinney 10,476 9.20
Republican Larry V. Faircloth 9,123 8.01
Republican Joseph Oliverio 7,687 6.75
Republican James D. Radcliffe, Jr. 3,013 2.65
Republican Charles G. Railey 2,345 2.06
Republican Carroll B. Bowden, Sr. 925 0.81
Total votes 113,876 100

General election


Early in the campaign, Warner called for Manchin, as a centrist Democrat, to endorse John Kerry.[10] Manchin's campaign spokesperson responded that Manchin backed "the Democratic nominee".[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]


West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2004[13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Manchin 472,758 63.51% +13.39%
Republican Monty Warner 253,131 34.00% -13.21%
Mountain Jesse Johnson 18,430 2.48% +0.87%
Write-ins 114 0.02%
Margin of victory 219,627 29.50% +26.58%
Total votes 744,433
Democratic hold Swing


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See also

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