Democrats Likely Keeping Byrd’s Seat

Democratic Governor Joe Manchin appears to have no serious challengers for the late Robert Byrd's Senate seat.

That’s the upshot of the news that the Republicans’ best candidate won’t be running.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., will not run for the state’s vacant U.S. Senate seat, she announced this morning.

The surprise decision from the state’s most prominent Republican appears to clear Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin’s way to Washington.

Manchin announced Tuesday morning he would run to fill Robert Byrd’s unexpired Senate term. Capito was seen as his only formidable challenger.


Without Capito in the race, Republicans may have little hope of unseating Manchin, a popular Democratic governor with a conservative bent.

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.

Manchin shrewdly announced the contest too late for the Republicans to recruit a viable candidate, assuming one was findable.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. This probably also means that Capito will run for Governor.

    She’s apparently a Republican who can win statewide, just not a Republican who wants to try to win statewide against Manchin