Now that U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller has announced his retirement, there’s lots of speculation about who will run for the Democratic nomination for that seat in 2014. Here are a couple names that have come up, in no particular order, and some of their pros and cons.
Pros: He has a jump start because he served for four months as U.S. Senator in 2010 between the time that Robert Byrd died and Joe Manchin won election. He is part of a family that is well-connected in West Virginia politics. His wife, Rochelle, works for Senator Rockefeller.
Cons: He does not have personal wealth and would have to raise large amounts of money. He has only limited political experience and has never run for office. The other side of being well-connected is that some resent the Goodwin family’s influence in West Virginia politics.
Pros: Just like his cousin, Carte, Booth or someone in his family knows everybody worth knowing in West Virginia Democratic politics. He has increased his profile dramatically in the last couple of years while serving as the U.S. Attorney for the southern district.
Cons: Like his cousin, Booth cannot write a check for a big campaign. He has not demonstrated that he can win a political race. And again, the Goodwin name causes some blowback from those who are suspicious (or jealous) of the family and its politics.
Pros: Davis, who was just elected to her second term on the state Supreme Court, has proven she can win a statewide race. She is an effective campaigner who, along with her successful trial lawyer husband Scott Segal, can write a big check for a race.
Cons: Davis would have to give up her seat on the court the moment she declares her candidacy. She has a ton of Supreme Court opinions that would be fodder for an opponent.
Pros: The former Governor left on a high note after two terms. Caperton has enough personal wealth to contribute heavily to his own campaign. Caperton expanded his network of contacts during his tenure as president of the College Board.
Cons: Caperton has been out of the public eye for awhile; it’s been 17 years since he was Governor. He will turn 74 in 2014, making him 80 years old at the end of the term.
Pros: Rahall has seniority. The Congressman has represented the third district since the 1976 election. He would have an advantage in the Primary Election because he has run successfully in his district many times. He can argue that knows the ways of Washington .
Cons: It may hurt more than help these days to be a Washington veteran. While Rahall has never lost a race in his district, he is not nearly as well known north of Route 60. He has taken thousands of votes that could be dissected by opponents.
Pros: Somewhere out there could be a fresh face, perhaps even someone with money. Think Gaston Caperton in 1988. Critics will say this newcomer has no experience, but that also means no voting record to be exploited.
Cons: It’s often hard for a newcomer to cut through the clutter. The media coverage migrates toward the known names. Who out there with success and money wants to subject themselves to the rigors of a big time political campaign?
So, these are just a few names. What names would you like to submit?