Skip to comments.Breaking: Jay Rockefeller to retire in 2014
Posted on 01/11/2013 7:50:14 AM PST by SeekAndFind
It didn't take long for the first retirement of the 2014 election cycle to occur. Jay Rockefeller, who has won five Senate elections in West Virginia but seen his state turn deeply conservative, will announce today that 30 years is enough:
Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will not run for reelection in 2014, passing up a bid for a sixth term and putting in play a Senate seat in deep red West Virginia.
In an interview with POLITICO, Rockefeller the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and one of the most senior Senate Democrats said he had been wrestling with the question of whether to run again since October but had not made up his mind to retire until very recently.
Im going to serve out my term, the 75-year-old Rockefeller said. It was a very hard decision for me. Once its made, like any hard decision, it eases up. But it was a very tough decision for me.
Rockefeller is scheduled to make a formal announcement at 11 a.m. back home in West Virginia.
Rockefeller said he decided to go public with his retirement now one that is sure to shake up the 2014 Senate landscape because it felt like the right move and because he didnt want months of public speculation over his political future.
Just a few hours earlier, Roll Call wrote a lengthy analysis that explains why Rockefeller decided to retire at the relatively young age of 75 … at least in the Senate:
Sen. Jay Rockefellers close ties to President Barack Obama could end his Senate career should the West Virginia Democrat choose to run for re-election in 2014.
Rockefeller hasnt had a close race in 30 years. But his strong support for Obamas agenda in a state where the president remains deeply unpopular, combined with Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capitos decision to run for Senate, could prove enough to undermine the political career of a Democratic icon who has endured even as West Virginia has grown more and more conservative.
Theres been no doubt on his absolute support of Barack Obama, West Virginia GOP Chairman Conrad Lucas said, explaining why this race would be different from previous Republican Senate bids.
Rockefeller won his first Senate contest in 1984 with 52 percent of the vote and has won every race since with at least 63 percent. And with a stranglehold on the governors mansion and the Legislature, the West Virginia Democratic Party remains more powerful than its Republican counterpart.
But the Mountain State hasnt voted Democrat for president since 1996, and unlike popular Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a recent former governor who was first sent to Capitol Hill in 2010, Rockefeller has a long and politically troublesome Washington voting record that Republicans can use against him. He has been a strong supporter of the health care overhaul, to name one major component of Obamas agenda derided by West Virginians.
It would be different because of the competition, too. Moore Capito has a lot more experience in running for office in West Virginia than previous candidates. She may not be a Tea Party darling — at least not yet — but she has been an effective campaigner in the state. It certainly seems to have provided the impetus to drive Rockefeller into retirement in a state that kept re-electing Robert Byrd even when it became clear he wasn’t up to the task.
This may not be all bad news for the White House, however. They were likely to lose the seat in the midterms, and it’s probably certain now that they will. But this means that Rockefeller doesn’t have to spend the next two years looking over his shoulder and shifting to the right to protect his seat. For the next two years, Rockefeller can vote without any accountability to the more conservative voters in West Virginia. The good news for Republicans won’t come until 2015 at the earliest.
I had thought he had already passed on.
But the corpse of Frank Lautenberg keeps showing up for votes, so actually living is not a requirement to “serve” in the US Senate.
At least Daniel Inouye had the good grace to stop coming to the Senate when he died.
He’s John Davidson Rockefeller IV. He never had to “work” a day in his life.
While public service by anyone is admirable (even a trust fund kid whose great-grandfather was the richest man in history), for the good of the order, give it a rest after a term or two and step aside (not five terms plus two terms in the WV Governor’s mansion). You’re not the only one with ideas.
No reason to worry. This uber rich leftist must certainly be paying his fair share.
30 years was 29 too much for this One World Liberal. He should go live in the UN building in NYC that sits on the land that his family donated to the organization in hopes of furthering their goal of a one world government with the Bilderbergers and Tri-Laterals at the helm.
Talking about someone like Rockefeller and his time in the Senate as “public service” is a joke. I know you probably meant it in a general sense. However, most of these people are not there to “serve” anyone but themselves. Same goes for the House. It would be hard to find more than 5 or 10 members of Congress who really, truly, do it to serve their constituents and the United States of America.
Anytime they decide to leave, we always hear about how proud they were to “serve.” As if it was the same thing as fighting in the military. In actuality, they are proud that they got to line their pockets, be surrounded by yes men, and generally got the royal treatment for so many years. That’s it.
Sorry, not trying to pick on you. Just a peeve of mine.
Hope really does spring eternal, doesn’t it?
The uber rich shelter their spending money in tax-exempt "charitable" foundations.
Jay Rockefeller Aristocrat believes in “guns for me but not for thee”. He bought an AR-15 days before AWB 1994 went into effect then boasted about keeping it behind his bedroom door. He could give arrogance lessons to both the Cuomos.
I predict there is 0 chance the Republicans pick this up.
I predict there is 0 chance the Republicans pick this up.
If we can keep Rove out of it, we can pick up this Senate seat in 2014.
The Dems have to defend 20 Senate seats next year, and Obama is making that a very difficult task.
It could be a pickup ... IF the GOP nominee isn’t a neophyte with a tendency to spike the whole effort with a Tourette’s moment about rape.
Rockefeller had the advantages of unlimited funds and big seniority, which allowed him to bring back lots of pork. Those are hard to resist.
If the Dems have to put up a freshman candidate, even if well known from other political positions, then the odds should be a lot better.
Is this the Rockefeller who was ClintBillies secret father? Or was that his father? My memory of those rumors is a bit faded. Just a rumor, but it helped explain the Hot Springs gangster connections when Billy was a teenager.
Pretty much sums it up despite WV being red in presidential elections. The last Republican to win state wide was Governor Cecil Underwood, who greatly benefited from a divisive democratic primary that caused a Rat party split.
The next Senator will either be Congressman Nick Joe Rahall or Governor Earl Ray Tomlin. GOP Congresswoman Shirley Moore Capito has announced she will run for Rockefeller's seat, but lets face it, she would struggle to top 40 percent of the vote.
RE: I predict there is 0 chance the Republicans pick this up.
Why so pessimistic seeing how West Virginia went Romney in 2012?
RE: Rockefeller had the advantages of unlimited funds and big seniority, which allowed him to bring back lots of pork. Those are hard to resist.
Well, former KKK Grand Wizard Robert Byrd was exactly the same way. He had his seat for life.
He who brings home the pork brings home the senate bacon.
That’s just the way it works in these United States. All Politics is local.
Shelley Moore Capito is interested in running:
The current governor of WV is a Democrat - Earl Ray Tomblin. He might be tapped to run.
Manchin, former governor, now senator, appointed a placeholder for Senator after Robert Byrd passed away in June, 2010. Manchin ran and won Byrd’s seat in a special election held a couple months after Byrd died. The two month time frame didn’t give a Republican the chance to declare and get a campaign up and running.
This time around, things should be different. Moore Capito is a huge champion of coal and the attacks on the 2nd Amendment should rally the troops to the Republican.
Manchin championed the 2nd Amendment, but right after Sandy Hook, he advocated for stricter gun laws and has caught a lot of flack for it. Hopefully West Virginians have seen the light and know not to trust a Democrat again.
You beat me to it.