"They're still a few votes short," he said of Republicans forcing leadership changes. "The state of West Virginia is still our primary focus, continuing to make it a better place."
House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, agreed.
"There will be a lot of changes in the House with the new members, but we've worked very well in a bipartisan manner, and we've gotten a tremendous amount accomplished," said Boggs, noting that issues such as Workers' Compensation privatization, elimination of the sales tax on food, and reduction of the corporate net income tax had strong support from Republicans and Democrats alike.
"This was a difficult election climate. We had a lot of controversy at the top of the ticket, and that translated into the outcome of other races," he said.
Besides the greater ability to block initiatives they oppose, the increase in Republican membership will also make it easier to take procedural actions such as discharging bills from committee for immediate consideration on the House floor.
However, former state Democratic Party chairman and political pundit George Carenbauer said House Republicans should exercise their newfound power responsibly.
"Here's a piece of advice to Republicans: Don't overplay your hand," he said. "Don't start doing a bunch of crazy stuff. Continue to exercise fiscal responsibility, tax policy reform, those kinds of things."
Carenbauer said he believes the Democrats' setback in the House is a direct result of the failure of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other top Democrats to side with President Barack Obama during the campaign.
"It would be unreasonable to think that there would be no ripple effect," he said, adding, "One of the things I think that hurt down ticket was that there was no defense of the president's policies. No one said, "Here are the good things President Obama has done for West Virginia."
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.