PARKERSBURG - Energy, health care and spending are going to be issues in the next campaign for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia, said a congressman who announce her candidacy on Monday.
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., used the occasion of her 59th birthday to announce she will run in 2014.
A single factor prompting her candidacy was what she said was the situation in the Senate.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Monday said she will run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. She made the announcement at a press conference at the Capitol in Charleston where behind her are, from left, her daughter-in-law Laura, 31, son Charles, 32, granddaughter Celia, 2, husband Charlie, daughter Shelley, 27, son Moore, 30, and his wife Katie, 26.
"Stalemate and the inability to problem solve in the U.S. Senate is frustrating to me," Capito told the newspaper.
Capito has been encouraged to run for governor and Senate, the last time when the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the Senate's longest-serving member in history, ran for re-election in 2006. Byrd died in 2010.
The seat is held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat and former governor and secretary of state who was elected to the Senate in 1984. Capito said she discussed her candidacy with Rockefeller about a week ago.
"I don't think he was surprised," Capito said.
Rockefeller, 75, has not announced whether he will seek another term in 2014.
"My total focus right now is on the national budget situation and the fight for West Virginia families - making sure the very wealthy finally start paying their fair share again, for the first time in decades, rebuilding a strong middle class, and creating real opportunity for those who are still struggling," Rockefeller said in a statement.
Capito, the daughter of former Gov. Arch A. Moore, made her announcement from the lower rotunda of the state Capitol where she was accompanied by family. Also attending were representatives from the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia Coal Association and other Republican lawmakers and business representatives.
"West Virginia needs a new and diverse voice in the U.S. Senate; a voice that can listen and can walk with others to achieve great things. The U.S. Senate needs a voice that stands for common sense and fairness," Capito said. "I believe I can be that voice and will ask the voters for their support by running for the U.S. Senate in 2014. I come to this race aware of the challenges but seasoned by the lessons learned in past campaigns."
The announcement was welcomed by the chairman of the state Republican Party.
"For far too long, Jay Rockefeller has been more interested in endearing himself to America's liberal elite than serving the good people of West Virginia," Conrad Lucas, GOP chairman, said. "Rockefeller has stood arm-in-arm with other out-of-touch liberals by launching attacks against the coal industry and supporting the job destroying policies of President Obama."
Rockefeller puts the people first, Larry Puccio, Democratic Party chairman, said
"After three straight years of campaigning in West Virginia some will start jockeying for political positions for the next election," Puccio said. "I believe Sen. Jay Rockefeller will continue to work for children, veterans, seniors and all working men and women and their families in West Virginia."
Capito believes the momentum leading to the inroads made by the Republican Party this election in the Legislature, attorney general and the Supreme Court will continue to 2014. Energy, health care and spending will be three issues in the campaign, she said.
"West Virginians understand these issues," she said.
Capito was elected to the House first in 2000. Her latest victory was in the general election against Howard Swint with about 70 percent of the vote in the 2nd District.
Local counties in the district are Wirt, Jackson, Roane and Calhoun.
The Associate Press contributed.