Potential Democrat Candidates for U.S. Senate Seat

By: WSAZ News Staff, Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/14/13 @ 2:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Voters in 2014 could see some familiar names on the ballot for U.S. Senate.

Senator Jay Rockefeller announced last week he was not running for a seventh term.

Since then, political experts have called former Governor Gaston Caperton, Representive Nick Rahall, Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis and Charleston lawyer, Carte Goodwin strong potential candidates on the democratic ticket.

Several of them attended the inauguration ceremony for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and showed interest in the senate seat.

Congressman Nick Rahall tells WSAZ.com he's considering a run for the seat. However, he's not ready to make an official announcement.

Meanwhile, Goodwin says he's flattered to be mentioned as a possible candidate, but he hasn't made a decision.

Goodwin was appointed to the late Senator Robert C. Byrd's seat until the special election when Senator Joe Manchin was elected.

Caperton says he doesn't see a run in his future.

On the republican side, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito has already announced she will run in hopes of winning the seat.

UPDATE 1/11/13 @ 11:25 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After nearly 50 years of public service, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller will not seek reelection in 2014.

The senator made his official announcement Friday at the Culture Center in Charleston.

Sen. Rockefeller entered the crowded room to a standing ovation. Rockefeller's wife, their children, grandchildren, along with his sister and brother-in-law, friends and staff members were all in attendance.

Rockefeller says this was a personal decision, not a professional one.

"As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I've decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family, Rockfeller said. "Serving West Virginia in the U.S. Senate in an abiding honor and privilege, and Sharon and I are so full of gratitude to our state and to the countless friends and supporters who have made my public service possible."

On display during the news conference was a 28-page booklet of Rockefeller's record of achievements.

During his remarks, Rockefeller took time to single out some of his proudest accomplishments, including his efforts in expanding the state's economy by bringing Toyota to Buffalo.

However, he quickly pointed out his work won't stop.

"For the next two years in the Senate, and well beyond, I will continue working tirelessly on behalf of all West Virginians. Championing those most in need has been my life's calling, and I will never stop fighting to make a difference for the people who mean so much to me."

Rockefeller says during his time in the Senate his staff has traveled well over one million miles across the state since 1985 and handled nearly a quarter of a million constituent cases ranging from Social Security issues to black lung claims and veterans' benefits.

Rockefeller's Proudest Accomplishments
-Championing health care by authoring the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covered 40,000 West Virginia kids and 8 million children nationwide in 2011 alone, and pushing to enact the Affordable Care Act, which makes health insurance affordable for 32 million Americans and 300,000 West Virginians and stops abusive industry practices;

-Increasing educational opportunities by authoring the E-Rate program, which has increased the number of classrooms connected to the Internet from 14 to 92 percent;

-Providing financial support for working families by expanding and defending tax credits for children, low-wage work and tuition;

-Expanding and diversifying West Virginia’s economy, including his efforts to bring the Toyota plant to Buffalo, which has 1,200 current jobs and represents a total investment of $1.3 billion;

-Standing up for coal miners by engineering passage of the Coal Act of 1992, which helped avert a nationwide coal strike and preserved health benefits for 200,000 retired miners and their families; and,

-Fighting for veterans and the benefits they’ve earned by helping create a network of community clinics that now serve their health care needs through 10 locations across the state.

-Before his time in the Senate, Rockefeller served as a member of the state House of Delegates, Secretary of State, President of West Virginia Wesleyan College, Governor and U.S. Senator.

Rockefeller's announcement to retire will change the political landscape in West Virginia.

Political experts say voters will be watching this race and studying the candidates very closely.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, Republican, has already announced she plans to run for Rocekfeller’s seat in 2014. She made the announcement back in November.

Capito says she wants to fight harder against the EPA on policies she says are hurting hardworking West Virginians.

Chairman of the Democratic Party Larry Puccio wouldn't comment on possible democratic candidates.

However, political experts have thrown out several names, including former Governor Gaston Caperton, Congressman Nick Rahall, Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, and Charleston lawyer Carte Goodwin.

Goodwin was appointed to the late Senator Robert C. Byrd's seat until the special election when Senator Joe Manchin was elected.

Statement from President Obama
"Jay Rockefeller first arrived in West Virginia as a young volunteer, eager to improve the lives of working families. And for more than four decades, he has continued to fight tirelessly on their behalf. From his time in the state legislature to the Governor’s office to the Senate floor, Jay has built an impressive legacy, one that can be found in the children who have better schools, the miners who have safer working conditions, the seniors who have retired with greater dignity, and the new industries that he helped bring to West Virginia. A long-time champion of health care reform, Jay was also instrumental in the fight to make sure that nobody in America has to go broke because they get sick. Michelle and I join the people of West Virginia in thanking Senator Rockefeller for a lifetime of service, and I look forward to continuing to work with him over the next two years. "

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 1/11/13 @ 9:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not seek a sixth term representing West Virginia.

The 75-year-old Democrat has recently sparred with the state's mining industry over the future of coal, and he has supported President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in West Virginia.

Rockefeller tells The Associated Press that public service has dominated his life for a half-century. He said he plans to retire in 2014 to devote more time to his family and vowed to remain a West Virginian.

Friday's announcement is sure to set off a scramble for the seat. Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito has already said she will seek it in 2014.

Rockefeller arrived in the state as an anti-poverty worker in 1964. His subsequent political career has also included two terms as governor.

The Senator has scheduled a press conference to formally announce his future plans at 11 a.m. in Charleston. WSAZ will have a crew on the scene.

UPDATE 11/26/12 @ 1 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- U.S. Republican Shelley Moore Capito believes West Virginia needs a new and diverse voice in Washington.

During a news conference on Monday, Capito, 2nd District Republican, announced her plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

"The senate has been stalemated - hasn't made progress and I believe I can contribute to moving forward, working together and solving the problems and I think it's a great opportunity for our state, quite frankly," Capito said. "West Virginia needs a new and diverse voice in the U.S. Senate; a voice that can listen and can walk with others to achieve great things. The U.S. Senate needs a voice that stands for common sense and fairness."

Capito wants the seat held by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The five-term Democrat said Capito called him last week and told him of her plans.

On Monday, Rockefeller wouldn't say if he plans to run in 2014 for a sixth term in office.

“Being West Virginia’s U.S. Senator is a great honor, and I am proud and passionate about my continued service to our state," Rockefeller said. "I share a deep and lasting bond with the people of West Virginia, and I believe that the Democratic values I represent are as fundamental as ever to all that we hold dear.

“Congresswoman Capito called last week to let me know of her plans, and I appreciated that. But my total focus right now is on the national budget situation and the fight for West Virginia families – making sure the very wealthy finally start paying their fair share again, for the first time in decades, rebuilding a strong middle class, and creating real opportunity for those who are still struggling."

Capito won her seventh term on Nov. 6. The former state legislator chairs House Financial Services subcommittee.

"Over the next two years, I have no higher priority than to continue standing up for the 2nd district and our state as we tackle the immediate fiscal crisis in the next few months and continue to stand up against the EPAs dangerous and unconstitutional crusade to dictate our nations energy policy to the detriment of West Virginians," Capito said. "The mandate from this election, I received loudly and clearly, is to accomplish these critical objectives by working together. We must set aside short term agendas to get restore fiscal discipline in Washington. We are experiencing changing leadership in our state resulting in a greater political balance between parties. The change will be good for West Virginia."

No matter the party affiliation, Rockefeller and Capito agree -- West Virginians are tired of the constant elections.

“Beyond that big question, everyone I talk to in West Virginia is tired of the non-stop campaigning. West Virginians just want us to do our jobs, and for me that means focusing full-time on the serious issues at hand. Politics can wait,” Rockefeller said.

"The voters ... are fatigued. They have grown tired of the constant campaigning, and want us to govern," Capito said.

According to a Public Policy Poll conducted last year, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito could have a good shot of winning the seat.

The poll found Capito would get 48 percent of the vote to Rockefeller's 44 percent.

UPDATE 11/26/12 @ 10:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Ap & WSAZ) -- U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is marking her 59th birthday by vowing to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.

The 2nd District Republican announced her campaign plans Monday at the state Capitol.

"The senate has been stalemated - hasn't made progress and I believe I can contribute to moving forward, working together and solving the problems and I think it's a great opportunity for our state quite frankly," Capito said.

Capito wants the seat held by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The five-term Democrat said Capito called him last week and told him of her plans.

The 75-year-old Rockefeller did not say whether he plans to run in 2014.

He and the state Democratic Party's chairman instead referred to how West Virginians have gone through seven elections in less than three years. Rockefeller said he's focusing on the federal budget and other pressing issues.

Capito won her seventh term on Nov. 6. The former state legislator chairs House Financial Services subcommittee.

Statement from West Virginia Republican Party Chair Conrad Lucas

"The gauntlet has been thrown down and the future of our great state lies in the balance. For almost 30 years, Jay Rockefeller has been in the US Senate supporting liberal policies that have hindered economic growth in West Virginia while turning his back on coal miners and their families throughout our state.

"For far too long, Jay Rockefeller has been more interested in endearing himself to America's liberal elite than serving the good people of West Virginia. Rockefeller has stood arm-in-arm with other out-of-touch liberals by launching attacks against the coal industry and supporting the job destroying policies of President Obama.

"Liberal Jay Rockefeller has proven he's only interested in being a loud and aggressive voice for radical environmentalists in the US Senate, but I think we deserve to have a US Senator who will be a reasoned and powerful voice for the people of West Virginia. If Rockefeller has the audacity to run for a sixth term in 2014, the people of our great state will have another opportunity to reject the failed policies of President Obama by voting against his strongest advocate in West Virginia, liberal Jay Rockefeller."

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is reportedly planning to run for the U.S. Senate in two years.

There has been speculation for some time that she may run.

She is expected to announce her candidacy Monday morning at the State Capitol.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller has held the seat since 1984, but hasn't said whether he will run again in 2014.

Capito was elected earlier this month to a seventh term representing West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District.

A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the State Capitol in Charleston.

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