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When West Virginia Democrats struck a deal with state Republicans last night on a 2010 special election to replace the late Senator Robert Byrd, what was already obvious (Joe Manchin's ambition to be Senator) became glaringly so.

And earlier this morning, it became official. Joe Manchin is seeking the move from Charleston to Washington:

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III (D) announced Tuesday that he will run in this fall's special election to replace the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D).

"I will represent the people of West Virginia every day," Manchin said during Tuesday's press conference at the state capital in Charleston. "I want to make sure they see West Virginia people and hear West Virginia people through me."

Manchin, in his announcement speech, paid homage to Byrd, saying that while he could never fill the late Democrat's shoes, he did hope to follow in his footsteps.

Republicans now wait to see if their lone viable candidate, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, will run for the seat. The likelihood of her candidacy grew exponentially higher yesterday, with the provision added to the special election bill that Capito could run simultaneously for her House seat and this Senate seat.

That deal, which was made at the insistence of state Republicans, seems to make clear (as commenter Jonze noted last night) that Governor Manchin wanted an election this year (while his approval ratings are in the stratosphere) come hell or high water. Of course, it is worth noting that his own ambitions seem to have guaranteed that the GOP will be able to field the lone candidate capable of giving him a run for his money.

Manchin's approval ratings are excellent, but West Virginia is a state where the Democratic brand is in seriously bad shape. The President's job approval ratings, according to Gallup, are lower in West Virginia than they are in any other state, save for Utah. These competing impulses could create an interesting electoral scenario.

Only Rasmussen has polled this Senate matchup, giving Manchin a fourteen-point edge over Capito (53-39) two weeks ago.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:34 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think Manachin just Pwned Capito (9+ / 0-)

    I don't know why all the grumbling about this deal (OK- I do, on the surface it looks like another Dem Cave-in).

    But.. if you're Manachin, and you think you'll beat Capito, why not lure her into the race, open up her Congressional seat, and take out her political career?  She's long been the one viable Republican statewide in W Virginia - take her out.

    That play takes considerably more Cajones, for lack of a better term, than simply holding out against a Republican filibuster.

    Nibblin' on spongecake, watchin' the sun bake All of those tourists covered with oil --Jimmy Buffet

    by jgkojak on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:37:14 AM PDT

    •  That's The Point, Jgkojak!! (8+ / 0-)

      It doesn't open her Congressional seat! She can run for both at once, comfortable with the fact that even if Manchin wins, she has her House seat as a fallback.

      So she won't be taken out...she'll be in the same position, with a statewide base of name recognition for the next go-round (probably for Governor in 2012).

      "You share your young with the wolves of the nation...
      Theres nothing left til you pray for salvation"
      Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "American X"

      by Steve Singiser on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:41:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but she has the taint of LOSER (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, msmacgyver, flhiii88

        Losing a statewide election is not a good stepping stone- you get the taint of a "loser"- I know its possible to come back, but I'd expect some sort of teabagger primary challenge to her in 2012 as she tries to moderate herself for statewide office.

        Nibblin' on spongecake, watchin' the sun bake All of those tourists covered with oil --Jimmy Buffet

        by jgkojak on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:57:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep..Exactly! (0+ / 0-)

        Why are DEMS so eager to aid the career of Shelley Moore Capito?

        She would be in a good position to run for governor in 2012 when whoever replaces Manchin should he win is up for re-election.  And 2012 would be a presidential year when Obama will likely tank big time in West Virginia.

        Moore could run hard this time...do respectfully and then be the frontrunner for the Governor seat in 2012 or Rockefeller's potentially open Senate seat in 2014.  

      •  She's already in a good position to run for (0+ / 0-)

        governor and she really does have state wide name recognition.  I don't think this will help her in any way.

      •  WV voters can be cantankerous, though (0+ / 0-)

        I think it's possible that some folks who normally would have voted for Capito for the House seat might take umbrage at the idea that she's not really committed to that race and vote against her. I mean, we do still have a significant Dem-vs-Repub voter registration.

        I, on the other hand, will take great pleasure in having the chance to vote against her twice! (Doesn't mean I'll vote for Joe, though - I've got to see what the Mountain Party is going to do.)

        West Virginia's new motto: Ex Os, Ex Mens (go look it up)

        by blonde moment on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 11:19:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Agree ... and see my comment about whom could ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QuestionAuthority

      ... be the person to beat her for the House seat :)

      Yes. We. Did. ... Begin.

      by understandinglife on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:41:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Won't Work.... (4+ / 0-)

        Only the Senate seat is reopened. Capito's House opponent, a retired teacher who has barely raised any money and has never run for public office, remains her opponent for November.

        Goodwin, if he were so inclined, would have to wait until 2012.

        "You share your young with the wolves of the nation...
        Theres nothing left til you pray for salvation"
        Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "American X"

        by Steve Singiser on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:43:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They already had their primary? (0+ / 0-)
        •  Capito's opponent... (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.herald-mail.com/...

          Former nun launches campaign for Capito’s seat
          By RICHARD F. BELISLE
          November 25, 2009

          CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. — Virginia Lynch Graf, a former Catholic nun with no money — and so far no campaign organization — stood in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse and told about 50 supporters Wednesday that she was launching a "dark horse" run against Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in 2010.

          ...

          Graf said she understands she is challenging a veteran congresswoman with a $2 million war chest, but she believes that when people get to know her and what she stands for, she will overcome that obstacle.

          ...  

          Graf said she left the religious order not because she was unhappy but for a "new call...to leave the safety and security of the convent walls, to stand on my own two feet."

          If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

          by msmacgyver on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:12:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree completely, jgkojak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flhiii88

      Manchin is a practiced and savvy politician from one of the powerful WV political dynasties.

      Manchin has been planning his moves and knows the WV political scene backwards and forwards.

      Capito has no real incentive to run for the two term Senate seat as junior Senator from WV.  She is currently the highest ranking republican in the State, and with a guaranteed 2010 win, can finish out her House career and then run for Governor in 2012.

      Capito is also a decendant of WV political power so anything she chooses to do will have the blessing of the state's republican machine.

      If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library? Lily Tomlin

      by msmacgyver on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:07:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what happens if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, msmacgyver

    she wins a seat in both the house and the senate? does Capito get to choose?

    May there be peace on earth and may it begin with me

    by lazbumm on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:38:32 AM PDT

  •  cornyn consults his ouija board. (2+ / 0-)
  •  What would be so very cool is if Capito ... (5+ / 0-)

    ... decides to run in both races and a young WV Senator were to run against her in the House election bid :)

  •  The Rasmussen poll was a "narrative-setter" (10+ / 0-)

    They wanted to ensure that Manchin would sign off on the special election and get in the race by building up his confidence/Dem expectations.

    Now that he has, Rasmussen will show Capito surging into a triple-digit lead.

    •  You And I on the same page, Trix.... (7+ / 0-)

      I'd honestly expect Ras to show the next poll in the state as a toss-up. Probably a Manchin lead, but less than half of what it was before.

      "You share your young with the wolves of the nation...
      Theres nothing left til you pray for salvation"
      Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "American X"

      by Steve Singiser on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:42:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  there needs to be an independent accreditation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix

      agency on polling organizations.  to 'certify' a polling agency as legitimate vs a 'news generating' arm of either party.  

    •  I wondered if they played these kind of games (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trix

      And I saw your post before I asked...

      "...Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order." FDR

      by wrights on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know if it really made any difference... (0+ / 0-)

      Manchin was going to be termed out soon in any case, I think?  And governors do not usually run for House seats.  So the Senate seat is really his only viable political option for the future in any case.  The only alternative landing spot I can see would be a position in Obama's administration, and that's both unlikelier than him winning the Senate seat and not something that would last too many years, whereas he would have a reasonable chance of staying in the Senate until he retires or dies.

  •  This is shaping up to be quite a year! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, horizontalrule

    Anyone know if kos is going to have a new pollster in place before the elections?

    This year would be one helluva test for a pollster.

    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

    by Skeptical Bastard on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:42:46 AM PDT

  •  2012 (5+ / 0-)

    Assuming Manchin pulls it off this year, there will be an interesting dynamic going into the 2012 race when both Manchin and Obama will be on the same ballot. Will Manchin spend his next two years improving Obama's image in the eyes of West Virginia voters, or will he stake out a position of opposing Obama on high profile things to show the voters he's not an Obama rubber stamp?

    Hopefully the former.

  •  Barring some unforced error, Manchin wins easily (5+ / 0-)

    He's as good on the stump, and face to face as anyone in the Democratic party. Up there with Brian Schweitzer as a fit for Montana, so is Manchin for West Virginia.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:50:05 AM PDT

  •  Is Capito safe in her district? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, Bush Bites

    Cant she be labelled as too greedy? She should be forced to choose one by her Dem opponent!

  •  WV GOP? (7+ / 0-)

    If the WV Dems are in bad shape, the WV GOP is in even worse shape. They hold no state-wide offices, are the minority party in state senate & house of delegates. Many races in November's general election will have the Dem candidate uncontested because the GOP just doesn't have the candidates to run.

    Shelley Moore Capito is the exception but take a look at the map of WV-02 - talk about gerrymandered! A candidate has to have some serious name recognition and deep pockets to challenge.

    If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?

    by WV Democrat on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:54:35 AM PDT

  •  Never expected to save WV for the Dems. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, msmacgyver

    If that happens--and the teabaggers screw AZ and FL and maybe KY for the Repubs--this will be one hell of a lucky year.

    "Philosophy is useless; theology is worse"--Dire Straits

    by Bush Bites on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 08:56:17 AM PDT

  •  One Small Correction, I'd Offer (4+ / 0-)

    The  comment should be "national" Democrat brand is bad shape.The DNC's biggest branding issue here is that national Democrats are viewed as being anti-coal. Dumb as it is, as it's no longer our primary industry, that has a lot resonance.  The State party is still in a very strong position and Manchin will win the seat without much trouble. Moore Capito won't be able to carry enough counties to make a serious run; the only reason her House seat has been secure is that she consistently carries the Eastern Panhandle (which has become a Republican Bed Room for DC) and held her own or carried Charleston -- something she won't do against Manchin.

  •  Wasn't Massachussetts supposed to be a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, greatdarkspot, msmacgyver

    slam dunk for Martha Coakley too?  This seems pretty dumb.

    "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

    by Leftovers on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:01:24 AM PDT

  •  You can run for two offices at once? Really? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North

    Now that's an interesting twist. What a nice insurance policy for the Republican candidate. How often does this happen, anyway?

  •  Will/can Capito face an organized challenge... (0+ / 0-)

    ... from the right in the form of a write-in campaign or an actual 3rd party candidate? This doesn't seem to be what the TEA party has in mind to me:

    In the House, she is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues. Like her father, her voting record has been moderate/centrist; she has a lifetime rating of 69 from the American Conservative Union. She is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership (which supports stem-cell research) Republicans for Choice and The Wish List, (Women In the Senate and House), a group of pro-choice Republican Party (GOP) women. She is the only pro-choice member of West Virginia's House delegation.

    Seems like she might not be enough of a "true believer" to benefit from the "enthusiastic" wing of the GOP, but I am woefully ignorant re: WV politics.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

    by Egalitare on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:02:54 AM PDT

  •  I like Manchin's chances against anyone (0+ / 0-)

    though it should would be nice if Carnacki would weigh in on this one...

    •  Manchin's chances are GOOD-BUT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greatdarkspot

      He is way to the right of Byrd.

      Also if a lot of national money goes into the election his daughter receiving a masters w/o putting in the hours from WVU will come up as well as some of his other soft spots.

      Most of the newspapers in WV are very timid and I would be interested to see how he would hold up under intense opposition research.

      •  I don't get to the right of Byrd. (0+ / 0-)

        After 50 years Byrd spoke against the coal industry and finally voted to repeal DADT.  The first 50 years were pretty conservative and on very big issues.  Byrd could have spoken out on coal years ago.  

        Byrd's 1999 description of environmental activists:

        These head-in-the-cloud individuals peddle dreams of an idyllic life among old-growth trees, but they seem ignorant of the fact that, without the mines, jobs will disappear, tables will go bare, schools will not have the revenue to teach our children, towns will not have the income to provide even basic services.

  •  why in the world (0+ / 0-)

    would the Democratic legislature agree to allowing someone run for two offices simultaneously? Not only is the idea of being able to run for two offices simultaneously ridiculous on its face, but it also basically creates a law to suit the whims of one person (Caputo).

    Does this mean that Democrats in the future can run for two offices simultaneously as well?

    •  Compromise (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, msmacgyver

      To get the deal done, they caved on the issue, otherwise it looked like Manchin would have had to end around the system and face possible court challenges. On top of that it would have weakened his position. And no, in this case the 17th Amendment will only apply to this special election, SOS Natalie Tennent will be delivering a report for the next session of the legislature so that they can clarify for future references.

      •  thanks for that (0+ / 0-)

        ...it still seems pretty outrageous that the Democrats would cave and change the entire election process...just for suit the political whims of one person (Caputo).

        •  They had to get a 67 vote threshold (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wdrath

          to make the law active in time to do it. If they didn't get it done today, then Carte Goodwin would have likely stayed in the seat for another two years.

          •  The GOP (0+ / 0-)

            The GOP played it very smart in this one.  I did not expect that they would be able to pull this off - neither did anyone else, it seems.  I suspect someone came up with this idea and pulled it out at the last minute, knowing that the other side badly wanted this law and not giving them time to find a way around it.  I hope some smart aide gets a bonus payment at the end of the year for thinking it up.

            "In his library at Simi Valley, dead Reagan waits dreaming"

            by greatdarkspot on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 10:12:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Caputo is a male member of the WV House of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wdrath

          Delegates.  Shelley Moore Capito is a female member of Congress from WV.

  •  I will be interested to see whether or not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blonde moment, msmacgyver

    Palin will ask Capito to refudiate her pro choice positions.

    Hard work is damn near as overrated as monogamy. -Huey Long

    by flhiii88 on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:14:47 AM PDT

  •  West Virginia passes an LBJ Law. Ho. Hum. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flhiii88

    It was on my 10th birthday (I was in Missouri at the time) that Texas passed what some called the LBJ Law, that enabled Lyndon Johnson to both defend and retain his Senate seat while simultaneously running as JFK's VP. It's happened elsewhere from time to time since.

    The kerfuffle that seemed to stall the enactment of the West Virginia special election law was over something that has become commonplace in elections: waiving the rule against two-timing the electorate.

    There's good sense behind rules that say politicians can only run for one office at a time. But why then run for just two different offices at once?  How about more? Isn't seven the most powerfully magical number? I digress. But I'd dislike seeing a nutty gazillionaire candidate filing for everything and then running a general, multi-billion dollar saturation media campaign of I can do it all, possibly including a reality show and real time live web streaming. I digress.  

    Anyway, voters in a lot of states have thought that one campaign per customer was a good rule. But LBJ demonstrated how shamefully easy it is for well placed pols to get the rule waived and since then these waivers have become almost commonplace.

    Joe Manchin couldn't throw himself behind the opposition to the Republican insistence on the waiver. He can't appear the least concerned about whoever the other side throws up against him. So, I thought from the git go that this was going to happen.

    I need to start figuring out who this Manchin guy is. Anybody seen a good diary?  

    "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

    by LeftOfYou on Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 09:32:18 AM PDT

  •  The Good Thing For Manchin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flhiii88

    is there is no big name group in the state that really opposes him.  He apparently has already sewed up the support of both Big Labor and the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  If he gets the NRA and then he is pretty much set.

    He is already extremely popular and a proven vote getter in 2004 and 2008 when DEM presidential candidates were losing big time in his state.  Plus the very compressed 3 month campaign works big time in his favor.

  •  NRSC's Response: Utterly Laughable (3+ / 0-)

    via CNN: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...

    

“By breaking his promise to serve a full term as Governor even if a Senate vacancy existed, Joe Manchin has made clear that his own political self-interests are more important than keeping his word to the people of West Virginia.
    “It’s also clear that, if elected, Joe Manchin will be a loyal rubberstamp for President Obama’s reckless spending agenda in Washington. During just the last 18 months, Joe Machin has endorsed the President’s government health care bill and he advocated for the massive stimulus boondoggle, which has failed to create the jobs that he and the President both promised. Governor Manchin even loyally defended the President’s anti-coal rhetoric as he supports an administration that is focused on putting one the state’s key industries out of business.

    “At a time when West Virginia’s unemployment stands at 8.9 percent and the national debt has skyrocketed past $13 trillion, voters will decide whether their state will be better off with another Democrat Senator who will loyally support the Obama agenda, or whether they want a Senator who will stand up for the checks-and-balances that they deserve.”

    Because let me tell you, Joe Manchin is big uber-liberal. You know, that support from Chamber of Commerce, Right to Life, and the NRA. Why, uber-Liberals just have all the good backing!

  •  Go Joe! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flhiii88

    Manchin is the best candidate in culturally  "Red" leaning W. Va. to hold Byrd's seat. It's too bad that Capito can now run for both the House and the Sen. at the same time, but this compromise was needed to get a high turnout 11/2  election  date. As long as Manchin campaigns hard, and doesn't act lazy and entitled  like Coakley, he should win. And although the Bible tells us that the "sins of the fathers  must not be passed on to the sons (daughters here)," if there is an issue raised  about preferential treatment Manchin's dgtr. may be getting doing her Master's, I would be happy to have a discussion of Shelley Moore Capito's Dad, controversial  ex- Gov. Arch Moore. Moore served 3 years in jail for fraud  and extortion.  For more on Manchin and interim Sen. Carte Goodwin, read this

  •  These Posts Miss the Point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blonde moment, schumann

    I currently (and unfortunately) live in this state, and this is nothing more than a Manchin power grab, conceived as far back as 2006 when Byrd won re-election.  He is a complete DINO.  There is virtually no difference between him and Capito; and in some instances, she is more progressive.  His appointment of a "hack in diapers" was only to help ensure his seat in January.  He is completely in the pocket of the coal lobby.  In most instances, he will not be an ally for Obama/Dem agenda.  He is one of the most corrupt, cynical pols around.  The only thing his victory does is help ensure a Dem majority in the Senate with Obama still struggling mightily to get his agenda passed.  He will be a foe of energy reform, and that is just the beginning.  This guy makes Nelson and Baucus look progressive and noble.

    •  But..... (0+ / 0-)

      ...he still will give the Dems an extra Senate seat and help them keep a majority.  A bad Democrat is better than a good Republican (I realize that the term "good Republican" is a complete oxymoron!).

      Wilber

  •  Eh (0+ / 0-)

    I smell another Martha Coakley situation.  Manchin is so overconfident as to border on cocky.  I think he might be in for a big surprise in November, and he'll have no one to blame but himself and his cohorts in the state house.

    •  Manchin =/= Coakley (0+ / 0-)

      The comparison is bizarre in that it is fundamentally wrong on a number of levels. Martha Coakley was a progressive Democrat who was not particularly charismatic or prepared to run the type of campaign needed to close the deal on a short time schedule. On the other hand, Joe Manchin is charismatic and has already laid the foundations for running a state-wide campaign, and he'll have deep pockets backing him too.

      The other big difference is that anyone who knows Manchin knows that "over confident" isn't something he does when it comes to campaigns. In 2008 he ran a full on campaign, despite being barely challenged. Why? Because he remembers all to well getting beaten by Charlotte Pritt in 1996, all but handing the state house to Cecil Underwood.

      I know Democrats are pessimists, but listen to the people who know the state when we say Manchin =/= Coakley.  

  •  Does anyone doubt (0+ / 0-)

    that Obama's low approval rating in WV is due to racism there? There's no other way to characterize a state that leans Democratic in virtually all elections yet has such a low approval of this one politician.

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