Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) and challengers Lacy Wilson and Belinda Fox-Spencer. Photos courtesy candidates.

As U.S. Rep. Carol Miller seeks her third term in Congress, two challengers face the daunting task of defeating the Huntington Republican.

Democrat Lacy Watson of Bluefield and independent Belinda Fox-Spencer of Peterstown are running against Miller, who currently represents West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. That district won’t exist after this election because of population loss and redistricting. Instead, the three candidates are running in the new 1st Congressional District, which includes much of central and southern West Virginia.

Miller was first elected to the House in 2018, halfway through the Trump presidency, and quickly established herself as a supporter of the former president. Her campaign website still says, “Let’s send Carol Miller to Washington to join President Trump and fight for West Virginia families!”

Miller also voted on Jan. 6, 2021, against certifying electors from two states where voters chose Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential victor.

Her biography on her congressional website says Miller’s priorities in Congress are “creating jobs, diversifying the economy, innovating and improving infrastructure, protecting America’s borders, and supporting West Virginia’s energy industries like coal, oil, and gas.” Her campaign website says she is “pro-life, pro-jobs, pro-energy, pro-lower taxes.”

Of the 27 bills Miller has been lead sponsor on during her congressional term, one — a bill to require some airports to provide rooms for nursing mothers — passed the House and was sent to the Senate, where it died.

While West Virginia’s two other incumbent U.S. House members faced off in a primary in May, Miller easily defeated four Republican challengers in her primary. She received nearly two out of every three votes cast, while her four opponents each got between 7 and 10 percent of the vote.

The other two candidates differ with Miller on some, but not all, positions.

On Watson’s website, affordable health care for every American is listed at the top of his platform. 

He says he also favors “full access to health services for women in West Virginia,” and made it clear on social media that he opposed the Legislature’s ban on almost all abortions in the state last month. Other issues he supports include the end of incarcerations for non-violent offenders, and the legalization of cannabis.

Watson was unopposed in the Democratic primary. He also ran for the U.S. House in 2020, narrowly losing that year’s primary. He ran for the state House of Delegates in 2016 and 2018, both times finishing last among major-party candidates in the general election. 

Fox-Spencer, on her campaign website, describes herself as a small business owner who’s worked in health care for 20 years. Some of her positions, including on abortion and gun rights, are close to Miller’s stances. She also notes the links between poverty and poor educational outcomes, and says she’s a strong supporter of Medicare and Medicaid.

“I may not be able to fix it all,” Fox-Spencer says on her website, “but I will certainly sow discord among the corrupt within a failing government.”