In a year where incumbency is a dirty word in most competitive House races, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va) is embracing it, telling voters he brings home the bacon for West Virginia's 3rd Congressional District and that he intends to continue doing it.
"What's wrong with earmarking funds when it's such a small part of the overall budget?" Rahall asked a room full of West Virginia Democrats Thursday. "I happen to support that process. My opponent doesn't."
Rahall is locked in the fight of his political life against Republican Eliot "Spike" Maynard, who has called Rahall an enabler of runaway federal spending in Washington.
The Republican has hit Rahall's votes in favor of the stimulus and healthcare, both of which the Democrat has defended. Rahall calls the healthcare bill less than perfect, while Maynard wants it repealed.
Rahall, who's in his 17th term in Congress, said voters would be foolish to throw away his seniority, telling supporters Thursday that even if the GOP were to retake control of the House next week, he would retain his top spots on the House Natural Resources and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
"If West Virginia throws away my seniority, I truly believe we'd only be digging a deeper hole for ourselves," Rahall told voters.