Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, says he won’t run for another term.
For the Republicans, Representative Shelley Moore Capito had already announced her intent to run for the seat in 2014; the Club for Growth turned its collective nose up at her as an option and now the Senate Conservatives Fund — headed by Senator Jim DeMint until he left for Heritage — is singing a similar tune:
“Now that Rockefeller has taken himself out of the race, the door is wide open for Republicans in West Virginia to nominate a true conservative,” said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins. “President Obama lost the state by 26 points so there’s no reason a courageous conservative can’t win this race.”
In November, SCF announced it could not support Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate because of her liberal voting record in the U.S. House of Representatives. Just last year, Capito voted for the $1 trillion, budget-busting omnibus spending bill as well as a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. Capito has a long history of supporting wasteful earmark spending, union wage mandates, and taxpayer funding for abortion.
“We’re not going to stop looking for a conservative challenger in this race until the primary is over. The voters in West Virginia get to decide who represents them and they should have a conservative choice. If we’re going to save this country, we have to find principled leaders who have the courage to stand up to the big spenders in both political parties. “
The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to electing conservatives to the U.S. Senate. SCF raised over $25 million in the past two election cycles and helped elect eight U.S. Senators, including Pat Toomey (R-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).
West Virginia has proven a tough nut to crack for Republicans in statewide races in recent cycles — a disappointing 43 percent in a special Senate election in 2010, garnering 47 percent in a special gubernatorial election in 2011, finishing with 45 percent in 2012’s regular gubernatorial election. However, the state has become reliably Republican in presidential elections, and they picked up a U.S. House seat in 2010, when Dave McKinley beat Mike Oliverio; McKinley won easily with redrawn district lines this November.