Ten Republicans have filed to run in the special election for the Senate seat of Robert Byrd, including former state GOP chair John Raese and Marc Warner, who ran for his party’s nomination early this year in the race for the 1st Congressional district.
Raese has tried to win a Senate seat twice, first in 1984 against Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who was governor at the time, and then in 2006 against Byrd. He is currently chief executive officer of Greer Industries, a network of businesses including a steel company and radio stations in several cities in West Virginia.
Warner, on the other hand, was an unsuccessful candidate in the GOP primary this May for the seat of Democratic Rep. Allan Mollohan. He is a West Point graduate and small business owner.
GOP leaders are believed to have favored U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito for the nomination, but Capito decided this week to run for re-election instead.
The primary is set for Aug. 28 and whoever wins the Republican contest is expected to face Gov. Joe Manchin, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Manchin, 62, is a former secretary of state and is on his second term as governor. Elected chairman of the National Governor’s Association this month, he won each of his two gubernatorial elections with 69 percent and 63 percent of the vote.
Two Democrats are challenging the governor in the primary: former West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler, 90, and a little-known former state House member, Sheirl Fletcher.
A caretaker appointed by the governor, Carte Goodwin, is currently filling the Senate seat until the special election, which will be held the same day as the mid-term elections, Nov. 2.
Byrd succumbed to failing health in a Virginia hospital last month. He was the longest-serving member of Congress in the nation’s history.