CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The retirement announcement that rocked the state of West Virginia is now shaking things up in the Democratic party.
The tough-to-fill void left by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., prompted serious soul-searching and speculation at the Capitol Friday afternoon.
Choosing an opponent to run against big-name Republican Shelley Moore Capito in 2014 is now at the top of party leaders' minds.
"It's time to come together as a team and try to figure out where the leadership is going to come from," State Treasurer John Perdue said. "We have to have someone at the top of that ticket in 2014 ... someone who has a proven leadership record in West Virginia."
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant thinks she might be the right person for the job.
"I'll take a serious look at it and how I can serve West Virginia and in what capacity," she said. "I think that's probably what is on the minds of many people over the next couple of days and weeks and months."
Leaders say no matter who decides to seek the spot, the choice will be careful and well-examined.
"It's a long ways, two years from now," Perdue said. "It's going to be a lot of planning, but I believe we have as good a shot as anyone."
Political experts are also throwing out names like Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton and Charleston lawyer Carte Goodwin.
Democratic leaders say they are looking for a candidate with a proven track record of leadership and the ability to raise campaign cash.