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Expert Pitch: Politics expert Dr. Andrea Kent available to talk about midterm elections

Dr. Andrea KentDr. Andrea Kent [ Download full-size]
As the nation prepares to hit the polls next month, many voters in the Mountain State are digging into candidate platforms, the voting process and how this round of elections will impact the general election in 2020.

Dr. Andrea Kent, a professor of political science at WVU Tech and an expert in American politics, is available to media to help tell the story of how the midterms play an important role in today's democratic participation – and who will occupy tomorrow's positions of leadership.

Quotes from Dr. Kent

On the importance of midterm elections:
“Midterms are extremely important because every seat in the House of Representatives is up for election – as well as a third of the Senate. In the vast majority of midterm elections over the last 30 years, the party who does not control the presidency makes gains in Congress during the midterms; however, this does not necessarily mean that the opposition party will take over one or both houses of Congress.”

On the balance of political power:
“West Virginia is in the midst of a huge partisan transition from solidly Democratic to quite Republican – supporting Donald Trump's presidential election by nearly 70%. The question will be does this trend continue. Democratic candidates – Richard Ojeda in West Virginia's Third District comes to mind – are pushing back against this trend by framing a blue-collar, rural message.” 

On voter turnout in the Mountain State:
“West Virginia has very poor voter turnout overall. We are a poor state and a rural state; both of which are major factors in depressing voter turnout. Increasingly strict voter ID laws – which are new in the last year – are also expected to suppress turnout. Voters in West Virginia are also quite disenchanted with politics in general, feeling as if they have little impact on what elected officials do, thus have a disincentive to vote. 

However, all this being said, the political climate in recent years has been extremely fractious. And while this is frustrating and even scary from a governance standpoint, it has been a boon from a participation standpoint. People seem increasingly aware that politics matters and want to protect their interests – potentially leading to more participation. 

I want to caution those who think their vote or voice doesn't matter and, thus, that they should not participate. If you don't participate, then your voice will certainly not be heard. The least you can do is put your voice out there. Voting is how we hold our government accountable. If government is doing a good job, we reward them by letting them stay in office. If they are not doing what we want, we need to turn out and vote them out. In a democracy, good government falls to us – the voters.”