Triple C, seems to believe so. Her take is that Boucher’s decision to support Waxman’s 20% cap on greenhouse gases would erode support for Boucher among the UMWA. I’m not so sure. I’ll include my comment to her post her to summarize my view:
You are spot on with your take. Triplett was the best candidate we’ve had in years down here. Boucher is in Cecil Roberts’ (UMWA chief down here) back pocket and the UMWA puts Boucher into real money. The constituent services his office provides is exactly as you say, Social Security checks that have suddenly become dislodged.
As a long time resident of the Ninth District, the only candidate the GOP could run and break 40% would be William Wampler, Jr. State Senator for portion of Washington County and Bristol. Wampler is not as conservative as some would like, but he is the GOP’s last hope against Boucher. If Wampler does not run, Boucher will have this seat until he retires.
The old money in Abingdon and the middle part of Washington County have a vested interest in keeping Rick in office. The lower part of the county is overwhelmingly Republican while the middle and upper end is Democrat. The opposite holds true for the Ninth as a whole. Republican candidates tend to fare better on the northeastern end of the District, while the Southwestern portion votes to overwhelmingly reelect. The UMWA carries the significant portion of that responsibility.
Rick Boucher, while not my favorite, is so entrenched here in the Ninth that only a very well known and respected public official could even break the 40% barrier.