West Virginia is now one of less than 20 key states President Bush and John Kerry will focus on during the presidential race.

West Virginia's five electoral votes could be crucial.

Kerry will visit the state today to meet with veterans and kick off his national campaign with a rally.

Kerry says he has pledged to reverse gains Republicans have made by talking common sense and mainstream American values.

Kerry will appear at a rally at the Charleston Civic Center beginning at 8 p.m.

Kerry will be joined by seven men he served with in the Vietnam War in Huntington, including a man whose life he saved, when he holds a town hall meeting with veterans at noon tomorrow at Marshall University.

About 200 veterans from all wars will be invited to the town hall meeting at noon at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center at Marshall. It will be closed to the public, although the media can attend.

Among those attending will be James Rassman, a Green Beret who lives in Oregon and credits Kerry with saving his life while serving as skipper of a river patrol boat. Kerry was awarded the Bronze Star for that rescue.