Discontented Americans, upset with problems common to most people, including the rising cost of gasoline, will provide the momentum behind Republican victories in West Virginia, according to speakers at the Berkeley County Republican Club's Annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

David Keene, National Rifle Association vice president, and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, told an audience that West Virginia will go Republican again in the national election.

Keene, who said he's been a property holder in Webster County for more than 30 years, recalled how a friend had predicted in early 2000 that "West Virginia would go Republican in November because of energy and guns."

He still marvels at that conversation which took place while the pair were fishing on the Elk River but he no longer wonders how that prediction came to be reality.

And those same factors will be a deciding factor among many West Virginians and Americans this year, Keene said.

"This November will be about the same thing, since liberal Democrat politicians are out of touch with anything outside of a university town...," Keene said.

Democratic presidential contender U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's recent remarks about rural Americans "clinging to the church and their firearms during tough times is additional proof of this elitist philosophy," he said.

Rising gas and food prices are all due to "wrong-handed government policies," Keene said, which Republicans will correct.

"The public doesn't want ... bigger government or to be told what to do. Most Americans are not on their side (Democrats), they're on our side. And everyone here is on the right side," he said.

Capito, who has widely supported President Bush, said she shares this frustration over ever-increasing gas prices and a lack of definitive actions to solve this problem.

Capito did not speak out on the Iraq war, which she has supported.

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