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W.Va's Capito will not seek Senate seat, sources say

By Aaron Blake

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) has decided she will not run to replace Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), three sources familiar with her plans said Tuesday night.

Capito was the favorite on the GOP side, and state legislators gained a concession in a special-election bill passed Monday that would have allowed her to run for both reelection and in the Senate race at the same time.

But, even with that fallback plan, sources tell The Fix that the she has opted not to run. That leaves Gov. Joe Manchin (D), who declared his candidacy Tuesday morning, as an even bigger favorite.

Capito's campaign could not be reached for comment late Tuesday night. She is slated to be on the radio Wednesday morning with West Virginia political analyst Hoppy Kercheval.

Republicans will now search for another candidate. Self-funding businessman John Raese is one option. Raese, who lost to Byrd in 2006 and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) in the 1980s, has expressed interest in the race and his wealth means that he wouldn't have to raise funds in such a short window of time.

The primary is set for Aug. 28, with the winners meeting Nov. 2. Candidates have until Friday to file for the race.

By Aaron Blake  |  July 20, 2010; 11:50 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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This is a surprising to me that Shelly Capito isn't running. She is very popular in her CD and quite popular outside of her district. I think with a free run she would make the run, and am surprised she isn't going for this, even against Gov. Manchin. She has a real shot to win if she had ran. I'm just surprised. Capito must have designs on the Governor's office in 2012 if she's not running for senate this year. Capito may be tired of Washington and wants to come home to WV to run for Governor. Capito's father was a 3 term WV governor, so perhaps she feels she has a vision for the state of WV and wants to run to implent that instead of staying in DC in a lock and load struggle between Obama & the Republicans. I wouldn't blame her for it.

Concerning the senate seat, Gov. Manchin is now the clear favorite. Not saying he's a shoo-in, but certainly the overwhleming favorite to win. I think relying a 2 time failed candidate for senate & 1 time failed candidate for Governor may not be the best hope in John Rease. I understand he has personal money to spend, but he's a failed candidate several times. Rease will have the money advantage to make a strong case against Manchin, however. There is also former Sec. of State Betty Ireland. Ireland didn't run for reelection in 2008, opting out to run for State senate. Why? I think Ireland was afraid she wouldn't win reelection, as she was the only statewide Republican in office. Democrat Natalie Tennant did win the Sec. of State's office overwhlemingly in 2008, by the way. I'm not sure Ireland would fare well against Manchin. Not to mention Ireland would face a huge financial disadvantage against Manchin. Perhaps someone in the state senate would run against Manchin. It looks like on the surface that Rease is the best candidate, with Capito out, that Republicans can run. At least they would have money to really compete in WV, and Rease can self fund the race. Not what Republicans wanted, but looks like the cards their given. Manchin is the huge favorite in this race now.

Posted by: reason5 | July 21, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

RussellNewYork: WV law firm did a discussion of "What's Next" last Friday (before bill was passed to allow Capito to run) explaining what happens next, including effect on Governor's office in Manchin wins Senate seat. Here's the link:,872.aspx

Posted by: wvdem1 | July 21, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Jere, for both comments.
The announcement of the delay in implementation of the new rules was disappointing, but we can be patient.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 21, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse


I am a WV commenter. Part of it depends on if there is a GOP House majority or not and part of it depends on how her District is redrawn in 2012.

Posted by: jeremybozz | July 21, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse


In WV, the Lt. Gov. is the State Senate President. He is Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin.

Posted by: jeremybozz | July 21, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

If Manchin becomes a senator, who succeeds him in office? The Sec of State? Speaker of the House? Senate pres? WV has no lieutenant governor and I've never seen this discussed. Please help!

Posted by: RussellNewYork | July 21, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I think Capito has been smart here. The momentum is with Manchin.

She may have also decided that it would be easy to become governor with Manchin in DC come November (this is a special election, so he'll be seated quickly) OR she is betting that this recession lingers and in 2 years she'll be able to beat him when she has had time to raise money and create a list of grievances.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 21, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Senator Manchin.

Count it.

PS - Mark, I thought you were headed to bed.

PPS - Your tie will be on its way soon. ;-)

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 21, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Reason5 thinks SMC is popular outside her CD.

Would running for Gov., if Manchin wins the Senate seat, be in her game plan?

Lylepink, if you are still a "Fix" reader, we need a WV commenter!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 20, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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