U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.
Jay Rockefeller was not on my list of particularly vulnerable Senators for 2014 – I figured that incumbency + money + ability to stay to the right of his national party on various issues = low risk – so this is a nice potential pickup. The timing on this is interesting for the Democrats, too: their most obvious choice for a replacement (Earl Ray Tomblin) just won re-election for West Virginia Governor in 2012 after winning a special election in 2011*, so trying to jump from there to the Senate in the 2014 election is going to be itself the most obvious campaign issue. Which might not stop Tomblin, and it might not stop Tomblin from winning, but it’s a complication.
So, all in all, net gain for us.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Which took place because Senator Robery Byrd died and was replaced by… Governor Joe Manchin, who resigned his position in order to run for the seat. If Tomblin’s going to do that, too, it does make one wonder if the Democrats really like having one of their own be governor of West Virginia…