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Capito ponders run for Wise seat

April 20, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A potential contender for Bob Wise's Congressional seat will be testing the political waters in Berkeley County Friday night.

Del. Shelley Capito, R-Kanawha, will be the featured speaker at the Ronald Reagan Dinner at the Inwood Eatery in Inwood, W.Va.

With Wise, D-W.Va., expected to soon announce plans to run for West Virginia governor next year, Capito said she is leaning toward making a bid for Wise's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Wise has been re-elected to Congress eight times since West Virginia voters put him there in 1982, but Capito thinks the Democratic stranglehold on the seat will be vulnerable if Wise opts for a gubernatorial run.

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"If Wise decides to go for governor, it will throw the race wide open," said Capito.

Since filing papers for a statewide campaign in December, Wise has raised $275,000 toward a possible governor's race and could officially announce his candidacy in the next few weeks, according to a Wise spokesman.

With the Republicans already holding only a narrow edge in the U.S. House of Representatives, the head of the West Virginia Republican Party said national party leaders have targeted the West Virginia race as an important one.

Capito and former U.S. Congressman Mick Staton have been mentioned as possible candidates with Capito the clear front-runner, said David Tyson, chairman of the West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee.

Capito, 45, is the daughter of Arch Moore, a former three-term Republican governor of West Virginia.

A second-term delegate who lives in Charleston, Capito said she thinks state voters are ready for a change.

"I'm a new candidate with an understanding of West Virginia's issues," she said.

Friday's dinner at the Inwood Eatery is being put on by the Republican Association of Berkeley County.

A reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7 p.m. Tickets for the reception and dinner are $50 with tickets for the dinner only priced at $15.

Ticket information is available at (304) 229-5505.

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