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W.Va. Dems Aim to Capture Votes from Union After GOP Flip

Perry Bennett
WV Legislative Photography

To regain ground in West Virginia's Legislature, Democrats acknowledge they'll need buyer's remorse from unions at the polls.

West Virginians in union households only favored Democrat Natalie Tennant by 3 percentage points in her losing U.S. Senate bid against Republican Shelley Moore Capito in 2014, according to an exit poll for the AP and TV networks. The GOP also snagged legislative majorities for the first time in more than eight decades.

This year, Republicans approved a bill loathed by unions to make West Virginia the 26th so-called right-to-work state. Thousands of union workers protested at the Capitol.

The state's Democrats face a difficult precedent. Rallying against right-to-work laws passed in 2012 didn't work for Democrats in Indiana and Michigan in subsequent elections. Republicans kept majorities and governorships in both states.

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