McConnell attends Capito fundraiser

WHEELING – The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate was in Wheeling for a private fundraiser Monday for senatorial candidate Shelley Moore Capito.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attended the small-group function at the River City Ale Works in Wheeling. About a dozen people attended the function that was closed to reporters.

Security included Capitol Police officers, Wheeling police officers dressed in coats and ties and at least one West Virginia State Police cruiser patrolling the area.

Capito, a Republican U.S. representative in the 2nd Congressional District, is running for the Senate against Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Democrat. The seat is being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller who is retiring from the Senate in December.

Capito was in New Martinsville earlier Monday and at the Wheeling Island power plants.

McConnell in Wheeling is a good sign for the state, she said at the Wheeling function.

“He’s a proven leader, and he’s an advocate for a strong energy policy,” Capito said as she entered.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, declined to answer questions before or after the event.

Capito said McConnell’s home state has much in common with West Virginia. West Virginia is second in the nation in coal production and Kentucky is third.

McConnell, who could be in line to lead the Senate if Republicans gain control in November, has opposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He testified against proposed rules during public hearings held in late July and early August.

McConnell has served in the Senate since 1985, making him the longest-serving senator in Kentucky’s history, and has been minority leader since 2007. He is running for a sixth term.

Republicans have set their sights on taking control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2007. To do that, they need to gain six Senate seats.