By Mannix Porterfield
Twice a loser in his effort to unseat Rep. Nick Rahall in the 3rd congressional district, Rick Snuffer is leaving the door open for a possible third attempt to win the seat two years down the road.
But for now, it’s back to work for the Beckley home builder to pay bills and keep food on the table.
“I have obligations to my family,” the Republican candidate said Wednesday. “That’s my No. 1 priority.”
Unofficial returns handed the Democratic Rahall a 19th term with a 15,396-vote lead over Snuffer in the 18-county district, but Snuffer insisted the race could have easily turned.
By attracting half of the victory margin away from Rahall, he said, it would have translated into a 15,000-vote turnaround.
“It was the closest race he’s had in 20 years,” the former pastor said.
Snuffer was miffed over Rahall’s comments about taking campaign money from Don Blankenship, who was chief executive officer of the former Massey Energy at the time of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion in Raleigh County.
“His politicized the tragedy at Performance Coal (a subsidiary of Massey),” Snuffer said.
“His ad said I took thousands of dollars from Blankenship. I took $1,000 from Massey. He lied. He said ‘thousands.’ Plural. I know that it becomes tough for a Washington insider to get the difference. He intentionally lied.”
Snuffer said he was constantly bombarded with untruths in television commercials run with Rahall’s stated approval.
“He intentionally lied, whether it was Medicare or saying I supported vouchers for Medicare,” the one-term member of Snuffer said.
“He voted to cut Medicare by $716 billion (in Obamacare), cut our senior services, and then lied and told them I was going to. That was a lie. He’s not man enough to own up to it and he wasn’t man enough to debate me. He hid from debates. He ran from his record and he lied about me. I’m not a crybaby. I ran and had a good time, and met a lot of good people. I gave the people a chance for change.”
Snuffer talked as if he hasn’t give up on politics, but at this stage, isn’t ready to make a commitment.
“I like to think people would give me another chance to serve them in the right capacity,” said Snuffer, who lost an earlier battle with Rahall back in 2004.
Snuffer only laughed when asked to identify the capacity he has in mind.
“That’s to be announced on the filing date or shortly thereafter, in 2014,” he added.