Manchin ‘Highly Likely’ to Run for Byrd’s Senate Seat; Capito Waffling
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) renewed buzz about a possible run in the special election to replace late Sen. Robert Byrd (D) today, telling The Associated Press that he is “highly likely” to enter the campaign. While Manchin’s run is almost a certainty at this point, the state’s top Republican politician appears to be waffling — again — on a stab at the Senate.
An anonymous source told The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake that Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is weighing a decision on getting into the race based at least in part on whether she has a chance of beating Manchin.
“One of the things you do when you consider running for a race is look at prospective opponents and how you can beat them,” the source told the Post. “That will go into her decision-making process.”
Capito’s decision will undoubtedly be influenced by a Rasmussen poll released this morning, which showed Manchin leading Capito 53-39 percent. The same poll showed Manchin leading another possible Republican candidate, former state Secretary of State Betty Ireland, 65-26 percent. While West Virginia has been trending away from Democrats on the national level in the last decade, 77 percent of voters approve of Manchin.
National Republicans attempted — and failed — to get Capito to run against Byrd in 2006.