CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Eleven Republicans, three Democrats and one Mountain Party member will try to become West Virginia's next U.S. senator.
The deadline for West Virginia's special election to replace the late Robert C. Byrd was Friday, with Frank T. Kubic, a Republican from Charles Town, and the Mountain Party's Jesse Johnson joining the race on the last day.
Johnson, who previously ran for governor and senator, said in a news statement Friday he wants to give voters "an alternative to politics as usual and protect their constitutional rights" and the state's natural resources.
Gov. Joe Manchin, former congressman and West Virginia secretary of state Ken Hechler, and former state delegate Sheirl Fletcher are vying for the Democratic nomination.
Only a couple of the Republicans -- businessman John Raese and developer Mac Warner -- are widely known. The state's most prominent Republican politician, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, announced this week she won't run for the Senate seat.
State GOP Chairman Doug McKinney acknowledged that the party's outlook for the Nov. 2 general election darkened with Capito's decision. The primary is Aug. 28.
"Everything has been in the governor's favor, so it would have been an uphill struggle no matter what," McKinney said. "It just might be a steeper hill now."
"But John Raese's got the money and he's been willing to spend the money and put on a big campaign in the past," he said. "Mac Warner made very impressive appearances on the stump in the 1st District [Congressional race earlier this year]."
The other GOP candidates include Albert Howard of San Pedro, Calif., who also ran in the 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary; Lynette Kennedy McQuain, who also is on the November ballot for the House of Delegates in Marion County; Thomas Ressler of Falling Waters; Kenneth A. Culp of Summersville, Charles G. "Bud" Railey of Bridgeport, Harry C. Bruner Jr. of Charleston; and Scott H. Williams and Daniel Scott Rebich, both of Buckhannon.