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Mine closings not likely to turn Va elections

Associated Press Published: September 23, 2012

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Hurt as they might, last week's mine closings in southwestern Virginia are not likely to matter much in this fall's presidential race.

Alpha Natural Resources is closing three mines in Virginia coal country, and five elsewhere in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney was quick to pick up on the announcement that 1,200 people would eventually lose mining jobs and ascribed it to President Barack Obama's "War on Coal."

It became a feature of campaign stops, and Romney rushed an ad titled "War on Coal" onto television in Virginia.

But Obama isn't likely to lose much support outside the 9th Congressional District where the mines are, and he's never been popular there. In 2008, he lost primary and general elections there but won Virginia overall.