Jenkins Takes Congressional Seat in Monumental Win Over Rahall

Nov 5, 2014

Evan Jenkins celebrates on stage with his family.
Credit Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After switching parties in the spring, Evan Jenkins will now head to D.C. after pulling off what could be called a monumental upset.  

Jenkins unseats Nick Rahall from the 3rd congressional district seat after a reign that lasted 38 years. Jenkins began his political career as a member of the House in 1994 and elected to the Senate in 2002. Even though he defeated a long time member of Congress, in his victory speech Jenkins says he appreciates what Rahall did for the state.

Jenkins was initially a republican, and switched to the Democratic Party in 1993 to run for the House of Delegates. In July of 2013 he announced he was switching back to the Republican Party to run against Rahall. And that switch and subsequent win will put Jenkins on the majority side.

The victory means Rahall for the first time in almost 40 years will no longer represent southern West Virginia in Washington D.C.

Around 10 o'clock, the 19 term member of the U.S. House of Representatives spoke to supporters and reporters. He thanked his family, friends and volunteers.

The 65-year-old Rahall was first elected to congress in 1976, at the age of 27, making him one of the youngest members to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.