By The Hill Editors - 07/19/10 11:54 PM EDT
During the 2006 cycle, Republicans strongly urged Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore Capito14 dead in West Virginia flooding Morgan Freeman comes to Capitol Hill to save the sharks Overnight Healthcare: GOP plan marks new phase in ObamaCare fight MORE (R-W.Va.) to challenge Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).
They claimed Byrd was beatable, but Capito wisely opted to run for reelection in the House as Byrd cruised to his ninth term.
It remains unclear whether Capito will be able to run for her House seat and the Senate seat simultaneously. State legislators are working out the details of the anticipated special election in November.
West Virginia Gov. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA 14 dead in West Virginia flooding Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote MORE (D) has indicated he will run to replace Byrd, setting up an intriguing possible showdown against the House GOP lawmaker.
Both politicians are popular. Manchin won both his terms easily, the latest in 2008 when he attracted seven out of every 10 votes. Capito, a Democratic target two years ago, fended off her challenger by double digits.
Capito, daughter of three-term West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, would start the race with a clear money advantage, having amassed $572,000.
While political handicappers say that Manchin would be the favorite, he is viewed as beatable — especially this year.
President Obama does not have many fans in West Virginia. Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPerez mum on VP speculation McConnell: Trump needs to 'catch up fast' on fundraising Rubio: I hope I can trust whoever wins with the nuclear codes MORE defeated him in the state’s primary by more than a 2-to-1 margin and Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMarines reignite debate on women in combat Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Report: Prominent neoconservative to fundraise for Clinton MORE (R-Ariz.) captured the state in the 2008 general election by 11 percentage points.
Capito, the only Republican in the West Virginia delegation, believes she will ultimately have to give up her House seat in order to run for the Senate. Her decision could enhance the long-shot chance the GOP has of retaking control of the upper chamber.