Rep. Rahall campaigns on his ability to bring home earmarks



In an interview with the Ballot Box, the longtime Democrat said he's confident voters will reward those members of Congress who have delivered for their districts.

"I have a record of representing the people that have elected me and they recognize that," said Rahall.

Despite the attacks from Maynard, who has tried to tie Rahall to President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rahall said he's proven his independence during his tenure in Congress.

"I have disagreed with my party and this president on things like gun control, abortion funding, gay marriage, prayer in public schools," Rahall said.

And should the party retain control of its majority in Congress Tuesday, which Rahall predicts it will, he indicated he's open to backing Pelosi again as speaker.

"I would support the nominee of the Democratic caucus as I always have," he said. "My opponent said he's going to support John Boehner, who wants to privatize Social Security."   

Another looming issue in this district is money from outside interests that has poured in, much of it attacking Rahall on his level of support for coal.  

In their final debate of the contest earlier this week, Maynard accused Obama and Washington Democrats of waging "a war on coal," which he said Rahall is a party to, accusing the incumbent of standing by while the EPA works to limit surface mining in the state.  

Rahall has targeted Maynard's ties to coal mining CEO Don Blankenship, with whom the Republican has a past that was part of his costing him his seat on the state's Supreme Court.

Maynard lost a reelection battle to the court several years ago after pictures surfaced of him vacationing in the French Riveria with Blankenship at the time the court was considering a multimillion dollar judgment against Blankenship's company, Massey Energy.

Rahall has demanded that Maynard urge the third party groups funding attack ads against him to reveal their donors, alleging that Blankenship and his allies are behind hundreds of thousands of dollars in negative TV spots.

"I always quote the late-Senator Byrd who said there are only two ways to run, unopposed or scared," said Rahall. "And I'm not unopposed."