Like so many other veteran Democrats from Appalachia, 14-term Rep. Alan Mollohan has never had to run for reelection at a time when a president of his party has been as unpopular back home as President Obama is now. Today, Republicans believe they have found their strongest challenger yet in construction executive and former state Del. David McKinley, and private polling suggests the unpopularity of the president and Congress have taken a surprisingly serious toll on Mollohan's standing with voters. In fact, it is extremely rare that an incumbent of Mollohan's tenure begins a race against a relatively unknown opponent in such a precarious position.

Sure, this northern West Virginia seat has been in the Mollohan family for over 40 years and Mollohan has cruised to reelection since 1984, including a 28-point drubbing of a GOP state delegate who blamed him for procuring self-serving earmarks in 2006. Furthermore, McKinley must first get past a competitive primary field that includes businessman Mac Warner and state Sen. Clark Barnes (who doesn't represent much of the district). But McKinley boasts a strong network

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