The legal questions over whether West Virginia's Senate vacancy should trigger a special election this November aside, there is one political reason West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) would be better off waging a campaign for the Senate seat in 2012: The federal PAC he set up in May just started raising money and he has no other federal campaign account.
It's no secret that Manchin is interested in ascending to the Senate. And even though money from his recently-formed Country Roads PAC wouldn't be transferrable to a federal campaign, the governor still lacks a national fundraising infrastructure at this point. That would make an election in less than six months more difficult.
On the state level, Manchin is a prolific fundraiser. In his last race for reelection, the governor raised and spent nearly $3 million.
Meanwhile, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a potential contender for the Senate seat, has more than $500,000 cash on hand according to her most recent FEC filing.
The West Virginia secretary of state's office will announce a decision on the succession process for Sen. Robert Byrd's (D) seat Monday afternoon.