The Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party says state residents owe a lot to U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller.

“Here’s a guy who has given 50 years of his life to West Virginia and I can’t thank a person like that (enough),” Larry Puccio said on Friday’s MetroNews Talkline.  “Fifty years of his life, that’s a commitment.”

On Friday, Sen. Rockefeller was in Charleston to announce his retirement.  After serving in the U.S. Senate since 1984, he will not run for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014.  He says his current, fifth term will be his last.

State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas says he is surprised Senator Rockefeller is making the announcement now.

“I was always about 50/50 on whether I thought Rockefeller would run again, but I expected an announcement several months down the line,” Lucas said on Friday’s MetroNews Talkline.

Senator Rockefeller has had a long career in politics.  He was  elected to the state House of Delegates in 1966 and then went on to be Secretary of State in 1968.

After three years as President of West Virginia Wesleyan, he was elected Governor in 1976 and reelected in 1980 before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, announced her plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 last year.


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