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Another Blow to Republicans in West Virginia

West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) told the Charleston Daily Mail this morning that she will not challenge Sen. Robert Byrd (D) in 2006, choosing instead to run for reelection in her 2nd district.

"My best future right now is to ask voters to send me back to my seat in Congress," Capito told the paper.

Capito had been doggedly pursued by recruiters at the White House and the National Republican Senatorial Committee for much of this year.

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the NRSC, said that in spite of Capito passing on the contest, Byrd remains a target in 2006. Nick said the committee "will continue to work toward getting a great candidate because Senator Byrd is very vulnerable."

Among the names mentioned include former West Virginia University head basketball coach Gale Catlett and West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland. Ireland appears to be the hot choice in the wake of Capito's decision, although she has spent less than a year in her current job.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 3, 2005; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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