Showdown in Coal Country
This year's midterm elections are projected to be the most expensive in American history. One of the most notable races, where outside interests are pouring in millions of dollars, is in West Virginia's third district — and the campaign is centered on one thing: coal.
The coal industry has dominated West Virginia for the past 150 years, exerting great influence over its economy and politics. Obama's push to drastically reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change has convinced many West Virginians that the federal government is waging a "war on coal" and, in turn, on West Virginia, as mines close and jobs are cut.
The backlash has placed 19-term Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall under fire for his perceived affiliation with Obama. The Koch brothers and other out-of-state energy interests have seized this opportunity to oust Rahall, leading Democratic State Senator Evan Jenkins to switch parties and run as a Republican.
VICE News traveled to West Virginia's third district to cover the race between the two candidates as they fight to prove who will be coal's greatest champion, and spoke with locals about coal's outsized importance in the region.