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November 26, 2012 11:36 AM First Big 2014 Announcement

By Ed Kilgore

So the GOP drive to do in 2014 what it failed to do in 2012—dominate a favorable landscape to take control of the U.S. Senate—is off to a good start with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito deciding to take on (if he chooses to run for re-election) Jay Rockefeller.

Capito has served in the House since 2000, but remains best known for being the daughter of former Gov. (and later prison inmate) Arch Moore. Moore the Senior had a political feud with Jay Rockefeller that goes back a full forty years to 1972 (when Moore defeated Rockefeller for governor; the Democrat returned the favor in 1980, and also more-or-less personally funded Sen. Jennings Randolph’s successful 1978 defense of his seat against Moore).

Particularly if Rockefeller runs for another term, this race will test the hypothesis that West Virginia has drifted hard red in the years since the Rocky-Moore wars thanks to coal and ethnicity. While Rockefeller is no raving liberal, he’s also no Joe Manchin. The contest would probably also break WV spending records, which says a lot in a state where campaign ads have been an important part of the economy.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • mb on November 26, 2012 12:46 PM:

    I understand that there are very different dynamics at work in mid-term elections relative to presidential years, but I hope the DNC takes a more aggressive approach and tries to GOTV in some semblance to the 2012 effort. Seems to me that there's been too much hunkering down rather than swinging for the bleachers (to mix a couple of metaphors) in the past. I think there is a significant danger of midterm elections continually recharging the tbaggers, exaggerating their influence and perpetuating this debilitating 2-year pendulum swing. This is especially bad because it confuses the media and leads to up-is-down analyses. We need some validation of Obama's mandate and a good showing in '14 would be very beneficial. It would also have the effect, imo, of intensifying the apocalyptic atmosphere on the right. But, really, what doesn't?

  • James E. Powell on November 26, 2012 12:53 PM:

    The Democratic Party, and whoever is running Democratic things in WVa, has to redefine the 'culture' that forms the basis for the 'cultural issues' that move the electorate in WVa.

    I'd start with a campaign to make sure everyone knows, if they don't already, that Murray Energy made their miners take a day off without pay to be campaign props for the Republicans. This is a story with teaching value.

    I'm sure that there are many citizens there who are concerned that environmental regulation will shut down the coal industry and eliminate good-paying jobs. But there have to be many citizens there who would prefer that their state not be turned into a chemical waste dump.

    There have to be issues other than race, religion and coal that can motivate people.

  • mudwall jackson on November 26, 2012 3:47 PM:

    my guess is capito is road kill if she runs against jay. she won't be missed.

    it will be interesting to see how much arch's shady past plays in the race and whether jay's campaign uses it.

  • Kevin S. on November 27, 2012 8:23 AM:

    "So the GOP drive to do in 2014 what it failed to do in 2012—dominate a favorable landscape to take control of the U.S. Senate—is off to a good start with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito deciding to take on (if he chooses to run for re-election) Jay Rockefeller."

    The GOP drive to take over the Senate in 2010 also god off to a good start with Mike Castle deciding to run for Joe Biden's old seat. No GOP candidate is safe from a Tea Party primary, so neither you or they can afford to count these chickens right now.