Democratic Gov. Bob Wise is not seeking a second term after acknowledging an extramarital affair. Democratic Secretary of State Joe Manchin and Republican Monty Warner, a retired Army colonel turned developer, will square off in the November election.
Wise is the first governor not to seek re-election since the state Constitution was changed in 1970 to allow a sitting governor to serve a second consecutive term.
Wise was linked to Angela Mascia, who oversees European projects for the West Virginia Development Office.
Presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry are both advertising in the Rust-Belt state, placing it in the limelight for the 2004 presidential election. Bush won West Virginia by 6 percentage points in 2000, becoming only the fourth Republican to do so since 1932.
In the 2002 elections, Democrat Sen. Jay Rockefeller easily brushed aside a challenge by Republican Jay Wolfe, a former state legislator who once campaigned with a human fetus in a jar.
Voters approved tax increment financing for local economic development.
Republicans increased their ranks in the House from 25 to 32, and upped their Senate margin from six seats to 10. It was the party's best showing since 1972.