Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito said she will run in 2014 for the U.S. Senate seat from West Virginia that Democrat Jay Rockefeller has occupied since 1985.
“I’m ready to make the run,” Capito said today in an interview with the MetroNews radio network in West Virginia. “I know it will be difficult, but I am ready to do it.”
The six-term congresswoman said she decided to run in part because “the Senate has been basically dysfunctional over the past several years.”
“I have good ideas that I’ve put forward in the House of Representatives, and I want to put them into action in the Senate,” she said in the interview.
Rockefeller, 75, who earlier this month declined to say whether he will seek a sixth Senate term, is chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
In a statement e-mailed today, he said Capito called him last week to inform him of her plans, adding that he “appreciated” the advance notice.
“Being West Virginia’s U.S. senator is a great honor, and I am proud and passionate about my continued service to our state,” Rockefeller said. He added that his “total focus right now is on the national budget situation and the fight for West Virginia families.”
His statement didn’t say whether he will seek another term.
Capito, 59, is viewed as the Republicans’ best candidate in a traditionally Democratic state that last elected a Republican U.S. senator in 1956, yet has trended Republican in federal races including presidential elections. She is the first Republican woman elected to Congress from West Virginia.
She made her announcement, which was earlier reported by the Washington Post, less than three weeks after President Barack Obama became the first major-party presidential nominee in history to lose all 55 West Virginia counties.
To contact the reporters on this story: Kathleen Hunter in Washington at email@example.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at email@example.com