The Washington Post

Conservative backlash to Shelley Moore Capito grows

Another conservative group has come out against Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who announced her Senate candidacy Monday. 

"Congresswoman Capito is not someone we can endorse because her spending record in the House is too liberal," said Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins in a statement. "If Republicans in West Virginia want to save their country, they need to find another candidate with the courage to say 'no' to more spending and debt."

The fund, founded by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is now an independent, joins the anti-tax Club for Growth in coming out against Capito's candidacy. 

Capito, the daughter of former governor Arch Moore (R), is a relative moderate who supports abortion rights and has crossed the aisle on some votes. The Club for Growth highlighted her support for the auto bailout, No Child Left Behind, and campaign finance reform, among other votes. But she is a staunch opponent of most environmental legislation, a major issue in West Virginia. She's seen as Republicans' best chance at winning the seat held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who has not yet announced whether or not he plans to run again in 2014. 

Neither conservative group has named a candidate they would prefer to Capito. 

“We have no idea if there will be any other candidate in this race, and that is not the point," said club spokesman Barney Keller. "Our point is simply that the formula of party bosses picking big-government Republican nominees has not proven successful.”

Hoskins added that it's up to West Virginians to field a grassroots alternative to Capito, but that Senate Conservatives Fund members are "willing to help a solid, viable candidate raise the funds needed to compete with the establishment." 

While West Virginia is rural, conservative, and now considered a safe Republican state at the presidential level, Democrats continue to hold both Senate seats, the governor's mansion and majorities in both houses of the state legislature. 

Brad Dayspring, a former spokesman for Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who now works for the Young Guns super PAC, told the Post's Right Turn that the club's decision to attack Capito is a "terrible" mistake. He noted that these are "the people who brought us Richard Mourdock,” a conservative who took down Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary only to lose to Rep. Joe Donnelly (D). 

In his statement, club president Chris Chocola seemed to anticipate that argument, noting that a number of establishment Republican Senate candidates lost in November too -- Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana, Rep. Rick Berg in North Dakota and former Rep. Heather Wilson in New Mexico.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Rachel Weiner · November 26, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.