The next senator from West Virginia will be a woman, a first for the state. Republican congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Democratic secretary of state Natalie Tennant are projected to win their parties' respective primaries.
Both Capito and Tennant are running to succeed the retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller. Capito is favored to win the seat, having lead Tennant in every poll since last year. Here's more on Capito's chances, from a recent issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD:
Capito may be underwhelming on the stump, but her chances of becoming the first Republican senator from West Virginia since 1959 look better than good. When they talk about their most likely Senate pickups in 2014, Republican strategists in Washington put West Virginia at the top of the list. The incumbent, Democrat Jay Rockefeller, announced early last year that he would be retiring. Democrats recruited Natalie Tennant, the secretary of state and a competent candidate, to run against Capito. But the latest polls show Capito ahead by double digits. Capito’s winning despite some objections from conservatives in her own party.
On fiscal and spending issues, Capito is a bona fide moderate, and the recent small-government, Tea Party trend of the GOP hasn’t reached West Virginia. She told the National Journal in January that one of her models is Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, the quintessential Republican centrist. Capito and her fellow West Virginia Republican House member David McKinley get middling to dismal ratings from conservative groups like the American Conservative Union, the National Taxpayers Union, and Heritage Action. When Capito announced her Senate candidacy in November 2012, the Club for Growth issued a stinging memo denouncing the many federal spending projects she had supported over the years.
“Congresswoman Capito has a long record of support of bailouts, pork, and bigger government,” wrote Club president Chris Chocola. “She voted to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for massive expansions of government-run health insurance, giveaways to big labor, and repeatedly voted to continue funding for wasteful earmarks like an Exploratorium in San Francisco and an Aquarium in South Carolina.”
When I ask her about the spending record in an interview in Ripley, she straightens up in her chair and leans forward, lowering her voice. “I was sent to Congress to represent 650,000 West Virginians,” she says. “I live in one of the states that is one of the most economically challenged states in the country. The only way to get our children out of poverty is to get them educated and healthy.” Expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, for instance, is a vote she’d “defend all the way down the line.” And in her defense, Capito’s been a consistent supporter of the Paul Ryan budget.
Ravenswood, W.Va. "I bet this guy’s a hunter.” Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican congresswoman who gives every sign of winning her race for the Senate, points at a worker in the front row with a youthfully cherubic face underneath a camouflage cap. He looks up at her.
West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin broke with his party's leader in the Senate by refusing to attack a pair of wealthy billionaire brothers who donate to free-market causes. Asked about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's frequent attacks on Charles and David Koch, Manchin told Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Thursday morning that there's nothing wrong with what the brothers are doing.
What do Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia have in common? For one, none has a city larger than 400,000 people. For another, they all voted for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. For yet another, they are the most likely places for Republicans to pick up Senate seats, thus taking control of the upper chamber, in 2014.
Republican House member Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia will challenge Democrat Jay Rockefeller for the U.S. Senate. At 59, Capito, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2001 and is the daughter of former West Virginia governor Arch Moore, will be facing a 75-year-old Rockefeller, who was first elected to the Senate in 1984.
Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia refused to answer a question about his position on repealing part or all of Obamacare this afternoon outside the Senate chamber. Asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD if he supported repealing any part of the 2010 health care law, Manchin then stepped into an elevator with retiring Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who laughed as the elevator doors closed.
Alex Pappas reports that West Virginia Democrats continue to distance themselves from President Barack Obama:
In a move showing how politically toxic President Barack Obama has become in parts of the country, three prominent West Virginia Democrats announced Monday they will not attend the Democratic National Convention in September.
“We’ve had some small contributions, but the largest was, I think, maybe a hundred dollars,” says presidential candidate John Wolfe Jr., speaking to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “I’m basically paying for this myself, dipping into my retirement account.”
As he sat in a prison cell in Texas, Keith Judd, inmate # 11593-051, was winning 40% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic primary last week amid whatever fanfare one could receive in such a place.
Now that President Obama's reelection team wants to include coal on the agenda, it's worth remembering that Obama himself warned in 2008 that his policies would bankrupt anyone who started a coal power plant. Here he is in 2008, speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle:
After a disappointing showing in West Virginia, where President Obama received only 59 percent of the vote against a prison inmate in the Democratic primary, the president's reelection team decided to highlight the importance of coal (or clean coal, to be exact) on its website. (West Virginia is a major mining state.) Well, the Obama team has had problems with coal in the past.