Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will announce Friday that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, setting the stage for a pitched battle for his Senate seat in West Virginia. He is slated to announce his plans in Charleston.
Not facing a 30-year incumbent, even one as out-of-step with his state as Rockefeller, is definitely a positive for Capito and leaves her the front-runner to pick up Republicans' first Senate seat in WV since 1958.
This decision clears the way for other ambitious members of the very deep WVDP bench to try their hand at a somewhat uphill race against the state's most popular Republican. State Dem Chairman Mike Callaghan has already expressed his interest, but the most likely possibility is SoS Natalie Tennant, who ran for Governor in 2011 and would not have to give up her office to run. Other possibilities are ethically challenged Treasurer John Perdue, ex-State Sen. Mike Oliverio, current State Sens. Jeff Kessler and Brooks McCabe, and State House Speaker Rick Thompson(UPDATE: Thompson says no.). Kessler and Thompson would both need to give up their current positions to run.
Update: I had written off 19-term Rep. Nick Rahall, whose victory margins have been narrowing precipitously in recent cycles, as a serious candidate due to his seniority, but he says he's interested. If the pro-Obamacare Rahall wants to run, I say bring it on.
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