Six years ago, Shelley Moore Capito became the first woman elected to represent West Virginia in the United States Senate. Now she is engaged in a re-election battle against Paula Jean Swearengin of Wyoming County.
The choice here is an easy one. The Herald-Dispatch endorses Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican in this race, over Swearengin, the Democrat.
Capito was elected to the Senate six years ago following the retirement of five-term Sen. Jay Rockefeller. Rockefeller left a legacy of accomplishment in economic development and service on several important Senate committees. Capito had big shoes to fill, and she did so.
In her first term, Capito has demonstrated she can work both sides of the aisle to ensure West Virginia gets its fair share of federal spending, and she has avoided scandal and needless controversy. Her views on many issues mirror those of most of her constituents. And she is a common sight in the state when the Senate is not in session. She does her job, and she does it well.
The job of United States senator is not an entry-level position. Capito was elected to the Senate following seven two-year terms in the House of Representatives representing West Virginia’s 2nd District and, before that, four years in the House of Delegates. She was no rookie politician.
Swearengin cannot match that resume. She is also hindered by the fact she supports some initiatives that many West Virginians do not. High on that list is the Green New Deal. That last one is probably a deal-breaker for any politician seeking votes in the parts of West Virginia that depend on fossil fuels — coal or natural gas — for their livelihoods. Those parts of the state are not yet ready to commit economic suicide to please the left wing of the Democratic Party. Capito’s positions and record more closely match those of most West Virginians, and they are more likely to benefit the state as a whole.
Politics on Capitol Hill has been a very divisive affair for many years, perhaps even a generation. The nation needs more people who can represent their states there without being major players in the harsh and bitter nature of the winner-takes-all game. West Virginia is fortunate to have two senators of different parties who can stand for their parties’ principles without diving head first into that acrimony. Thus Capito has demonstrated she is the kind of person the Mountain State needs on Capitol Hill.