April 17, 2014

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Yes, West Virginia, There Is A U.S. Senate Primary

With candidates and everything!

As of Wednesday morning, there was talk...even if it wasn't very loud...that Joe Manchin's name would be the only one in the running for the U.S. Senate seat of the late Robert Byrd.

By Thursday afternoon, it seemed everyone in the state wanted to be the next permanent U.S. Senator.

The filings started...in a trickle...shortly after Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito announced she would NOT run in the Republican primary, while she was also conducting a re-election campaign for her congressional seat.

At the time, Greg Smith, the new chairman of the Wood County Republican Party, told me he believed there would be several Republicans in the running, now that Capito had dropped out.  He should have told state party Chairman Doug McKinney, who told the Associated Press he didn't know of any other Republicans interested in running.

Thursday morning, John Raese, who had conducted two previous unsuccessful campaigns for the Senate, said he was running.

By afternoon, ten others were in the race.  By the time filing ended Friday afternoon, another had jumped in, and a Mountain Party candidate had filed as well.  So much for there not being a primary.

And Manchin will have opposition within his own party, albeit in part from Ken Hechler, the former congressman and West Virginia Secretary of State, who hasn't held office in ten years, and who is older (95) than Byrd was (92) when he died in June.

These late filings may be for an important reason.  One is that the Democrats...and Republicans for that matter...don't want this to be a "Manchin Coronation", even though Manchin may be the front-runner for the Senate.

The other, on the Republican side, is that the G.O.P. might not want Raese, a wealthy businessman, to "buy" his way to the nomination.

Either way, it's going to be a short...but exciting...month of campaigning.

 

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