Rep. Shelley Moore Capito raised $830,000 for her Senate bid in the final quarter of 2013, ending the year with $3.7 million cash on hand.Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, the likely Democratic contender for the Senate seat, brought in close to $650,000 during the same time period, according to the campaign.Capito, who started campaigning about one year before Tennant, holds a sizeable fundraising lead in the race to replace Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.She's raised $4.94 million since starting her campaign in late 2012, compared to the nearly $800,000 raised by Tennant, who entered the race in September.Capito announced in late 2012 she would leave the seat she's had in Congress since 2000 to run. Rockefeller announced in early 2013 he wouldn't seek re-election."The support I've received from West Virginians continues to be truly humbling. Each day, more and more West Virginians are joining my campaign for the United States Senate," Capito said in a statement emailed by campaign manager Chris Hansen.Tennant announced her campaign about two weeks before the end of the third quarter. She raised about $150,000 during that 13-day period, according to her filing with the Federal Election Commission.She raised $646,777 during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the campaign."It's no surprise that long-time Washington Congresswoman Capito is raking in cash from her Wall Street friends, but the most important number is all 55 West Virginia counties that are supporting Natalie - because Natalie's campaign is about putting West Virginians first above special interest money, and it's West Virginia values, not Wall Street dollars that are going to win this race," Tennant campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Donahue said in an emailed statement.
About 3,600 of Capito's campaign contributors are West Virginians, Hansen said. Capito's fourth quarter fundraising total for 2013 surpassed the amount she raised in both the second and third quarters. She raised about $770,000 during each of those time periods.Capito took criticism from conservative groups, like the Club for Growth, shortly after announcing her candidacy. Pat McGeehan, a former state delegate, entered the race after Capito and proclaimed himself the conservative choice.McGeehan - who had raised about $23,000 and had $8,200 cash on hand as of the end of the third quarter - filed Saturday as a candidate for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.He announced Monday on his website he had to withdraw his name from consideration for Senate. In the announcement, he said, "my family has been going through an unexpected trying time, one that will require my attention and support for the next several months."Tennant immediately announced her interest in potentially running for Senate after Rockefeller said he would retire. She did not make her campaign official until several other potential candidates - including Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., former Gov. Gaston Caperton and local attorney Nick Preservati - publicly declined interest in the race.
In addition to Capito and Tennant, four other people have filed as candidates for Senate. That includes two Republicans - Larry Butcher and Matthew Dodrill, both of Wood County - and two Democrats - Dennis Melton of Lewis County and David Wamsley of Wood County.Political pundits Stu Rothenburg of "The Rothenberg Political Report" and Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia both say Republicans currently have an advantage in the race.Contact Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.