The Times West Virginian

July 21, 2010

Capito will not run for Senate seat

Lawrence Messina
Associated Press

CHARLESTON — West Virginia's top Republican prospect ruled out running for the remaining U.S. Senate term of the late Robert C. Byrd on Wednesday, leaving the GOP without an obvious candidate for the seat Democrats hope to keep to retain a slim Senate majority.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito made the announcement a day after popular Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin launched his candidacy. Capito decided not run despite a special election measure that would have allowed her to seek both a sixth U.S. House term and Byrd's seat on the same Nov. 2 general election ballot.

The 56-year-old Capito faces a political novice, Virginia Lynch Graf, as the Democratic nominee in her 18-county district. Manchin, a centrist Democrat now in his second term, is the sole candidate so far in the race for the bulk of what remains of Byrd's term.

The 2nd District Republican said a dual candidacy would "create more uncertainty, invite a legal challenge, and misrepresent my priorities as a public servant. "

West Virginia GOP Chairman Doug McKinney said he's not heard from any Republicans seriously weighing a run. He noted that any candidate would likely face raising several million dollars to mount a credible campaign, while facing a short timeframe.

John Raese, a Morgantown industrialist and former Republican Party chair who lost to Byrd in 2006, has told reporters he was considering entering the race. The filing deadline is Friday.

Capito said in a campaign statement that there has been enough chaos and controversy surrounding the vacancy in the U.S. Senate.

"The outcome could ultimately place my re-election to the House of Representatives in jeopardy and would leave the final decision in the hands of state officials rather than the voters," she said.

The state GOP's McKinney said Capito's decision was disappointing after the Legislature's minority Republicans won the amendment that would have allowed Capito to run for both offices.

"They went out on a limb and really extended themselves to get that provision in there," McKinney said. "They're going to be disappointed, and I think most West Virginians will be disappointed."

The statewide primary will take place Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010 and the general election will take place in conjunction with the regularly scheduled general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Today was the first day of the candidate filing period for U.S. Senate.Gov. Joe Manchin today officially filed his paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant due to the recent passing of West Virginia's senior senator, Robert C. Byrd.
 
"No one can replace our beloved Sen. Byrd. We can only hope to follow in his footsteps," Manchin said. "I love serving the people of West Virginia and I would be truly honored for the opportunity to serve them in Washington."
“For five and a half years, my administration has worked tirelessly to bring all sides together. We have accomplished so much – from cutting taxes to fighting for good jobs and getting our financial house in order. While other states have been hit hard by this global economic downturn, West Virginia has maintained a strong, responsible government,” Manchin said.
Manchin, 62 of Fairmont, has served as governor since 2005. He won re-election for a second term in 2008, with a historic margin of 70 percent of the vote, winning all 55 counties.  
“I am thankful for all of the support that West Virginians have given me. There are so many important issues facing our state and our nation, and we need a strong leader in this seat who will fight for all of our people. I can and will be that leader.”
The statewide primary will take place Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010 and the general election will take place in conjunction with the regularly scheduled general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. Today was the first day of the candidate filing period for U.S. Senate.