CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., making it official that she will not run for Sen. Robert C. Byrd's unexpired term in the U.S. Senate, Republicans were scrambling Wednesday to find a viable challenger to face Gov. Joe Manchin in the special election this fall.
"We were pinning our hopes on Shelley, and while we respect her decision, we are very disappointed," state Republican Party Chairman Doug McKinney said. "I thought that would have been a great race."
With Capito's announcement, Morgantown businessman and past U.S. Senate candidate John Raese becomes the most prominent Republican considering a run in the special election.
Raese's office said he will have an announcement Thursday. Republican political insiders said that Raese, who last ran against Byrd for the Senate seat in 2006, is "very likely" to file to run.
McKinney said he has no discussions with Raese, but said, "If John Raese decides to do it, there is not any question about his ability to finance his own race."
McKinney said the only other prominent Republican he was aware of considering running was Charles Town businessman Bob Adams, a former congressional aide and Republican commentator.
However, McKinney said Adams had advised him as of Wednesday that he would not file.
"He said this is not the time to do it," McKinney said.