Last updated: July 31. 2013 7:04AM - 10908 Views

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Has West Virginia sunk so badly into right-wing “red state” status that major Democrats won’t even try to retain Jay Rockefeller’s U.S. Senate seat next year?

Former Gov. Gaston Caperton says he won’t file to succeed Rockefeller in 2014. So does Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. So does former U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin. So does his cousin, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. So does state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis.

Do they all assume that Republican Shelley Capito is sure to grab the vacant Senate seat, so they won’t waste time and money challenging her?

So far, the only significant Democrats still considered possible candidates are Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and retired Adjutant Gen. Allen Tackett, this newspaper’s 2010 West Virginian of the Year. Either would be a commendable challenger. And we hope other well-known West Virginia Democrats also contemplate the race.

For decades, a strong majority of West Virginians supported Democratic Party values, which help average working families instead of the wealthy elite. …

Part of the problem is that most West Virginia Democratic leaders won’t stand up for the party’s beliefs. Last year, the state party headquarters did virtually nothing for President Obama and his agenda for a more humane America. …

We concur. In response, party chairman Larry Puccio said West Virginia’s Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate will be decided mostly by Washington party committees, which rally money and support behind the strongest aspirant.

One way or another, we hope a bold, strong, forceful Democrat makes the plunge when the filing period arrives next January.

— Charleston Gazette

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