US Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will announce today whether she will run against Joe Manchin for the balance of Robert Byrd's Senate term, but is growing wary of getting into the race, reports Politico:
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) will announce whether she will run for Senate Wednesday morning, but top Republicans are already lowering expectations in anticipation of her decision.
. . . A source close to Moore Capito said the congresswoman will make her decision known at 10 AM, but cautioned there are still several lingering concerns about challenging popular Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin in the special election.
Even though a newly-passed special election law specifically allows for Moore Capito to run for re-election to her House seat and in the special election, there is still much concern about a possible legal challenge if she tries – or worse, the prospect that she might get kicked off the ballot for both offices – if she tries to file for the Senate race. The source added that the congresswoman is concerned the logistics of running and fundraising for two simultaneous races on Nov. 2, and is also mulling several personal considerations.
Phil Kabler at the Charleston Gazette has more on the Capito camp's thinking, via consultant Kent Gates, who says the special election bill approved Monday has left some muddy waters:
"It has been reported in the media that this clears the way for Capito to run, but we're not sure it does," Gates said.
He noted that state election law prohibits candidates from filing to run for more than one office -- and the law is clear that persons who violate the provision "may not be placed on the ballot for any office."
It is also may be too late for Capito to withdraw from the congressional race in order to run for the Senate, he said.
Under state law, a candidate on the ballot for the general election can withdraw only for "extenuating circumstances," and only if the withdrawal is approved by the state Election Commission, a five-member panel chaired by the secretary of state. Capito faces Democrat Virginia Lynch Graf, a political novice, in the race to keep her House seat.
"They've certainly manipulated the process up to this point," said Gates, suggesting the new law passed Monday favors Manchin's candidacy.
"Obviously, we will not be making a statement until we're sure of what the best course of action is," Gates said.
Other Republicans believed to be weighing possible challenges to Manchin are Morgantown businessman and past U.S. Senate candidate John Raese, and state Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph. Barnes is not up for re-election as a state senator until 2012.