In a move that basically concedes the race, West Virginia Congresswoman Capito (R) has announced she will not run for the US Senate this November. This means Democratic Governor Manchin will almost certainly win, probably by a margin approaching 2-1.
This election is a special election to fill the last 2 years of Robert Byrd’s term.
Capito’s decision is a logical one. She is basically unopposed for re-election to the House (there is a Democratic nominee but a token one). Running for the Senate against Manchin would have been a 50/50 shot at best and probably closer to a 40/60 shot.
With Manchin leaving the Governor’s chair there would be a special election to fill the Governor’s seat (as seems to be the standard with W Va election law the details of when and how remain somewhat murky.). So Capito could run for that in 2011 without risking her House seat.
If she wins then she could serve as Governor for a time, maybe run for re-election in 2012. Even if she loses she would get improved name recognition which would set her up to run either against Manchin in 2012 (when he might be less popular after 2 yrs in DC) or possibly for an open seat in 2014 should Jay Rockefeller (who would be 77 in 2014). So while the GOP may be disappointed it’s a smart move for her.