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Capito a likely 2008 W.Va. candidate

May 09, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is expected to formally announce her candidacy for a fifth consecutive term in Congress later this year or in early 2008, the 2nd District congresswoman's spokesman said Tuesday.

"Whether it has been working to increase economic opportunity and transportation funding or promoting affordable housing, Congresswoman Capito has enjoyed the six years she has spent in the House and the ability it has given her to work on issues important to families in the Eastern Panhandle," Capito spokesman Jordan Stoick said in an e-mail.

"She believes it is a little too early to be talking about campaigning, but is currently taking the steps necessary to seek and win a fifth term in the House."

Capito, 53, has managed to fend off Democratic challengers for the seat since 2000, when she defeated attorney Jim Humphreys by about 1,500 votes to win the seat vacated by Bob Wise, who stepped down to run for governor.

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Capito was the first Republican to represent West Virginia in Congress since Cleve Benedict and David Michael "Mick" Staton took office after being elected in 1980, according to records maintained by West Virginia State Senate Clerk Darrell E. Holmes.

In a rematch with Humphreys two years later, Capito won by more than 30,000 votes, and in 2004, she overwhelmed Erik Wells by more than 40,000 votes, according to West Virginia Secretary of State Betty Ireland's office.

In November, Capito defeated former assistant U.S. attorney Mike Callaghan by nearly 24,000 votes, Secretary of State records show.

In 2008, Capito faces a potential challenge from state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, who said last week he was mulling the possibility of launching a campaign for the 2nd District seat.

Unger, 38, was re-elected last year to a third, four-year term and he would not have to relinquish his seat in the State Legislature to run for Congress. The 2nd congressional district comprises 18 counties, spanning the state from Jefferson County along the Shenandoah River to Mason and Jackson counties along the Ohio River.

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