Date of Award


Degree Name

Political Science


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jamie Warner

Second Advisor

George Davis

Third Advisor

Jess Morrissette


The 2008 West Virginia Republican Presidential Convention was the first of its kind and presents an intriguing case study of power in politics. A small percentage of West Virginians are Republican and an even smaller percentage of those Republicans participate in politics. Based on this situation, the elite members of the West Virginia Republican Party would be expected to produce their candidate as the winner of the state's first ever presidential convention. This, however, was not the case. A perceived second tier candidate claimed victory instead, much to the anger and dismay of the party regulars. This study interprets and explains this upset with three theories of power. I argue that three dimensions of power were at play and that an understanding of these dimensions allows readers to comprehend West Virginia Republican politics, the 2008 convention, and future actions within the party.