Although it is obvious to those of us who know the long-ago facts, one reason Shelley Moore Capito avoids meaningful Democrat opposition in next year’s election appears to escape most state voters and pundits.
When a retired politician asked me last week why state Democrats cannot muster a strong candidate to challenge the Republican Capito, I replied with the apparent answer. “Because none of them think they can possibly beat her,” I said.
And, largely, I believe that answer is true. But he opined, “ah, but there is a second reason. Don’t you know what it is?”
I fumbled for an answer, finally saying, “Well, why don’t you tell me the second reason.” He tested me. “What about Arch and the Manchins?” he asked.
Bingo! I had the second reason the current congresswoman, soon to be United States senator, does not even have a weak challenger on the horizon. The Moore-Manchin connection absolutely lives! My caller agreed and took it a bit further than I might have, unprompted.
I said, “Oh yeah, I have always told anyone who asks that Shelley cannot run against Joe and vice versa because of the bond between the two families. I know all about Arch giving A. James (Manchin) a job when he desperately needed it ‘way back when.”
My politician agreed that it was “Bingo.” But he went on. “Why does the Democrat party organization not care if Shelley has any real opponent?” he asked. This was becoming a test of my knowledge, I suppose. Everyone knows I am so knowledgeable it’s scary.
“Hmmn,” I responded. “Because Manchin is still in charge of the state party organization,” I said. “Not Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, but Sen. Manchin.” It was once again a “Bingo.”
He continued, “And what all does that entail?” This guy was once a teacher, I assume.
That one I stumbled on for a minute or so. “Larry Puccio,” he shouted. “Puccio is Manchin’s puppet and he’s still the state party chair. Manchin wants to no opponent for Shelley and, thus, Puccio and the party organization do not want a candidate that will challenge her.”
As I said, my friend was a bit stronger on it than I might have been and drew additional conclusions that I might not have gotten to. Still, rest assured, dear readers, the Manchins and the Moores will never be opponents in politics. Manchin might be Democrat and Capito Republican, but never will the tie be broken. Remember, you read it here if nowhere else.
The Second District Congressional seat that Capito is about to give up to be a senator is drawing all sorts of interest on the GOP side. While attorney and former state Democrat Party Chair Nick Casey seems to have the Democrat nod locked up, most see the Republican side as wide open.
To that end, Ron Walters Jr. announced his GOP candidacy Tuesday morning at the Poca Boat Launch in Putnam County. Walters is the son of current Republican Delegate Ron Walters and brother of State Senator Chris Walters. A political dynasty in the making? Apparently. Can you imagine sitting down to the Walters Thanksgiving feast and having a delegate, a senator and a congressman?
Then, current Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines told me she is “99.7 percent” sure she will run for the same seat. Of course, Charlotte Lane and former legislator Steve Harrison have already filed pre-candidacy papers.
Which leads me to this opinion: if enough Kanawha countians decide to run for the Republican nomination, someone from the state’s Eastern Panhandle will sweep to the nomination.