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West VIrginia may play a key role in presidential race

Gov. George W. Bush's recent trip to West Virginia sends a clear signal that West Virginia is in the mix as the presidential election comes to its final stages. Ditto for a recent poll that showed Bush and Gore all but in a dead heat.

We're not here to come out in support of the Democratic candidate, Vice President Al Gore, or the GOP's Bush.

We think it's great, though, that West Virginia's five electoral votes are going to be "counted" in this election.

Too often, our state -- and others in the heartland of the United States -- fall into what's known as the "flyby zone."

Politicians spend time trying to nail down support on the East and West coasts, rarely going to places like West Virginia, Nebraska or Wyoming.

If the race is as close as the experts think it is -- and if it stays that way until Election Day, the stakes could go up even more for West Virginia.

It's probably not likely, but it could be possible that the Mountain State's five votes, coupled with a handful of votes from another small state, might make the difference.

The next month should be an exciting time for our state. We could see more trips here from Bush, Gore and other leaders from their parties.

But there may be more than that to gain.

In one of the few times that West Virginia played a pivotal role in an election -- in 1960 -- the reward from President-elect Kennedy reportedly was Interstate 79.

With all that said, it's all the more reason for us to get out and exercise our constitutional right.

Get out and vote, West Virginia. The nation may be watching.

Today's editorial is a reflection of the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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