Nine now running for Congress
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The race for West Virginia's 2nd Congressional District seat keeps getting more crowded by the day.
On Tuesday, Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, was the latest to announce a bid for the seat now held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Poore becomes the ninth candidate -- three Democrats and six Republicans -- running in the 2nd District contest. The primary is scheduled for May 2014.
Capito has held the seat since 2001. Last November, Capito announced plans to run for the U.S. Senate. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who first won election in 1984, will retire when his term ends.
Former Gov. Joe Manchin, now a U.S. senator, appointed Poore to the 31st District House of Delegates seat in 2009. Poore, who will give up her House seat to run for Congress, announced her candidacy via Twitter Tuesday.
"I'm ready to work. I'm ready to run. I'm ready to win," Poore said in an interview with the Gazette. "I'm very passionate about the district."
Poore, who was elected to a second term last November, added that she's "worked in the trenches" in the House of Delegates, fighting for jobs, families, children, veterans and "equal rights for all.
"We need new leaders with new energy to shake things up in Washington," she said.
On the Democratic ticket in the 2nd District, Poore will face an uphill battle against former Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey, who announced his candidacy in late April. The 59-year-old lawyer has never run for political office, but he has strong name recognition and has already raised more than $500,000 in campaign contributions -- $420,000 of which remains unspent, according to his latest campaign finance report.
"I'm very humbled by the broad base of support and the generosity of the supporters," Casey said in an email to the Gazette Tuesday. "It is an open primary so good luck to all."
Steven Gower of Weston also plans to run in the Democratic primary, according to filings with the Secretary of State.
Jacob Winowich, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said he didn't expect any other Democrats to enter the race. "This is a pretty strong field on the Democratic side," Winowich said.
Among Republicans, Charlotte Lane, a former state Public Service Commission member who later served on the U.S. International Trade Commission, announced plans to run for the 2nd District seat last month. Lane, now a lawyer, also served in the House of Delegates, representing Kanawha County, for four years.
Other GOP contenders are: Steve Harrison, a former state senator who plans to announce his candidacy later this summer; Larry Faircloth, a former House of Delegates member from Martinsburg; Robert Lawrence Fluharty of Charles Town; Alex Mooney, a former Maryland GOP chairman who recently moved to West Virginia; and Jim Moss of Hurricane.
State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said Tuesday that he wouldn't be surprised if additional GOP candidates get in the race. Lucas said he's confident the congressional set will remain in Republican hands.
"We have no concerns about holding the district, particularly with Obama's stance against coal," he said. "It's very difficult to run federally as a Democrat in West Virginia right now."
The 2nd District stretches across 18 West Virginia counties -- from Mason to Jefferson counties.
Candidates have until January to file to run for the congressional seat.
Reach Eric Eyre at email@example.com or 304-348-4869.