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5-Term Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) won’t run for re-election in 2014

January 11, 2013

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) will not seek a sixth term in 2014, he announced Friday morning.

“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,” he said.

Rockefeller would have faced a tough challenge from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) in the conservative state, where President Obama is very unpopular. But he told the AP that he was retiring because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren,” the 75-year-old senator said.

Rockefeller chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Serving his sixth term in the Senate, Rockefeller has held elected office in West Virginia since the 1960s. He was governor for two terms. The great-grandson of oilman and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, the senator is the only member of the once-dominant political family currently in office.

His retirement means the nation will likely be without a Rockefeller in high office for the first time in four decades and just the second time since the 1950s.

“From his time in the state legislature to the Governor’s office to the Senate floor, Jay has built an impressive legacy, one that can be found in the children who have better schools, the miners who have safer working conditions, the seniors who have retired with greater dignity, and the new industries that he helped bring to West Virginia,” said President Obama in a statement.

Earlier this year Rockefeller lectured the coal industry from the Senate floor, saying that current leaders “would rather attack false enemies and deny real problems than solve real problems.”

The surprising speech, along with Rockefeller’s vote in favor of limits on mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, was seen as a sign that he would retire. The coal industry is powerful in West Virginia, and in the past Rockefeller has often bucked his party to support it.

“Will folks support a Republican who will fight for our coal jobs and protect us from Washington, D.C.? Absolutely,” said West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas.

Capito is now the frontrunner in the race for Rockefeller’s seat, which has been in Democratic hands since 1958. She was already leading the senator in one poll. But the relatively moderate Republican faces opposition from some conservative groups. Fellow West Virginia Republican Rep. David McKinley says he’s watching Capito and has not ruled out running himself.

“For more than a generation, Senator Rockefeller has been a dedicated public servant, a brilliant legislator, and a loyal colleague in the US Senate,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet (Colo.) in a statement. “While we will greatly miss him in our caucus, I am confident we can elect an independent-minded Democrat to his seat next November.”

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 801/16/2013

.

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 101/14/2013

Didn't realize he was that old.

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 201/15/2013

Too bad -- hope we find a good progressive replacement to protect the miners...

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 301/16/2013

Repubs will probably nominate some tea party whack job and throw away their opportunity.

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 401/16/2013

No, they're taking this seat pretty seriously, and have been for a while, R4.

Rep. Shelley Capito is running for it and she's been laying the groundwork for the past year.

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 501/16/2013

West Virginians have to be some of the most vile, racist, white trash people to exist in any state, bar none. Yes, even more than Alabama and Mississippi.

It's also no coincidence that the state regularly falls on the bottom of every educational attainment list.

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 601/16/2013

R6 did you know that up until the last decade, West Virginia was once more Democratic than California?

People forget that up until 1992 when Bill Clinton won it and it became Democratic, California was predominantly Republican for most of the 20th Century.

Did you know that Michael Dukakis won West Virginia in 1988, but not California?

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 701/16/2013

[quote]West Virginians have to be some of the most vile, racist, white trash people to exist in any state, bar none.

Even little Elizabeth Walton?

by The first Democratic Senate seat to fall in 2014?reply 801/16/2013
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