Dem Senate candidates have yet to announce intent

PARKERSBURG – Since U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced he will not run for a sixth term, only one candidate has announced a run for the seat, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

To date, no Democrat has announced they will mount a campaign for the U.S. Senate.

However, the chairwoman of the Wood County Democrat Executive Committee and the state party chairman said they have spoken to potential candidates for the seat.

Wood County Chairwoman Jane Burdette said she has been contacted by a person interested in running for the Senate seat.

“I have had an individual contact me and is interested in running against Capito,” she said. “He is not ready to make an announcement at this time.”

She wouldn’t disclose who, but did say this person is from Wood County. She said the potential candidate is still evaluating a run for the seat.

“He is well educated and has worked in a number of places in the state,” she said. “He has a background in insurance and he will be an asset.”

In the course of his career, she said, he has made contacts all across the state.

“He has an interesting platform that is 10 to 12 pages long,” Burdette said.

Larry Puccio, chairman of the West Virginia State Democratic Party Executive Committee, said he, too, has met with a potential U.S. Senate candidate for the 2014 election.

“I have met with a person a few times and this person has done due diligence to determine if the office fits them and if it’s good for the family,” he said. “We need to know they are doing their homework and due diligence for this. We will hear an announcement and hope the person will seek office.”

Puccio said he is not aware of any potential candidates from Wood County.

“We welcome anyone to step up for this office,” he said.

Puccio declined to name who the potential candidate is.

“We have spoken in confidence and it would betray the confidence to say any more,” he said. “There is no need to mention names.”

An announcement is expected in the next 30 days, he said. Puccio said there is still plenty of time for candidates to come forward.

Earlier this year, former U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin – who served temporarily between the death of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd and the special election of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin – ruled out a bid to run in 2014 as did former Gov. Gaston Caperton.

Rockefeller, who served as West Virginia secretary of state and two terms as governor, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, succeeding retiring U.S. Sen. Jennings Randolph.

If elected, Capito would be the first Republican to be elected as a U.S. senator from West Virginia since W. Chapman Revercomb. He was elected to a full term in 1942 and to fill two years of an unexpired term in 1956.

Revercomb lost his 1948 bid for a second term to then-U.S. Rep. Robert C. Byrd, who would serve in the U.S. Senate until his death in 2010.