First Big 2014 Announcement

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

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.