Jay Rockefeller is retiring, don’t make another Manchin mistake in 2014, via The Hill:

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2014, giving Republicans a prime pickup opportunity in a state that’s grown increasingly red in recent years.

“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

Republicans already have their top recruit in place for the race. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) threw her hat in the ring late last year, and is considered the front-runner for the seat, should she survive what could be a tough GOP primary….

Despite the increasingly red tint of West Virginia, the state hasn’t elected a Republican senator since 1956. Rockefeller’s decision to retire now, at the very start of the election cycle, gives Democrats plenty of time to mount a defense.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who is tasked with recruiting Senate candidates as chairman of the chamber’s campaign committee, acknowledged the challenge that Democrats face in West Virginia. He said the party would look for an “independent-minded Democrat” to run for the seat….

“Democrats maintain nearly a two to one voter registration advantage over Republicans in West Virginia and I know there are a number of leaders there who will consider taking this next step to serve their state,” Bennet said.

I don’t know anything about Capito, or any of her challengers, but this is interesting:

On day one of her candidacy, Capito received criticism from two conservative groups known for mounting primary challenges against establishment-backed Republicans: the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group founded by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).

Chris Chocola, president of the Club, slammed her as an “establishment candidate,” and Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins said the group wouldn’t endorse her.

In the 2010 special election, Republicans nominated the establishment candidate John Raese, who promptly lost and then lost again in the 2012 regular election.  So we’re going to go with establishment candidate again?

So who else is in the Republican field?

Maybe we can recruit candidate no. 11593-051.

 
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