Even before Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) announced her plans to run for his seat, there was speculation that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) would retire in 2014. In a statement responding to Capito's announcement, the five-term senator shed no light on his own future.
"[E]veryone I talk to in West Virginia is tired of the non-stop campaigning," Rockefeller said. "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.”
He added that Capito called him last week to let him know that she intended to run. “But my total focus right now is on the national budget situation and the fight for West Virginia families," he said.
Capito's father, Republican Arch Moore, beat Rockefeller in the 1972 governor's race. Rockefeller helped keep Moore out of the Senate in 1978 and beat Moore for governor in 1980.
The congresswoman flirted with bids in open Senate and governor’s races in 2010 and 2011 but passed both times. She has long been considered Republicans' best hope to break the Democratic hold on this conservative state.
But the economic conservative group Club for Growth has already objected to her candidacy, saying she favors big government and wasteful spending.