Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who announced her intention to seek reelection last year, made it official Friday, submitting her paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office, in Charleston.
“I’ve been honored to serve and I want to extend my service to work on things that we’ve talked about — transportation, economic development, broadband development, our energy industries,” she said.
Capito served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected as a U.S. senator in 2014, when she became the state’s first female in the Senate and its first Republican senator in about 55 years.
Her filing tees up a potential race between her and Richard Ojeda, a Democrat who filed earlier this week, although he has opposition in the Democratic primary.
Ojeda resigned a seat in the West Virginia Senate last year to mount a long-shot bid for the presidency, but quit about two months into the race, saying he failed to garner enough money or attention to sustain his candidacy. He also lost a 2018 congressional race.
In an online announcement, Ojeda pledged to confront Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate.
“I believe Mitch McConnell needs a thorn in his side and nobody is better at that than me ... Richard Ojeda,” wrote Ojeda, a retired Army paratrooper.
In the Democratic primary, Ojeda is set to face progressive Paula Jean Swearengin, who was featured in the Netflix documentary, “Knock Down the House.” The daughter and granddaughter of coal miners, she filed earlier this week. In a statement, Swearengin said she is “not a millionaire and [has] not spent 20 years in Washington,” but added, “I know what it’s like to struggle to put food on the table and make ends meet.”
At the state level, one state senator and several delegates filed Friday to keep their seats.
Sen. Bob Plymale, D-Wayne, filed for reelection. He’s held his seat in the 5th district since 1992.
Former state senator William Laird IV, a Democrat from Fayette County, filed to take back his seat, which he held for two terms until deciding not to run in 2016. Before coming to the state senate, Laird served in the House of Delegates and as sheriff in Fayette County.
Incumbent delegates Phillip Diserio, D-Brooke; Bill Anderson, R-Wood; Scott Cadle, R-Mason; Mark Dean, R-Mingo; Geoff Foster, R-Putnam; Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, and Dianna Graves, R-Kanawha, are seeking reelection.
In Kanawha County, current Magistrate Hollis Lewis II filed to keep his position. Lewis was appointed magistrate last year to fill the seat left vacant when Kim Aaron retired. He is being challenged by former longtime magistrate Ward Harshbarger, who served for 38 years before losing to current Magistrate Rusty Casto in 2016.
One new candidate is vying for a seat on the Kanawha County Board of Education. Barry Holstein, of Cross Lanes, filed Friday to run for the position. Holstein has served as president of the Cross Lanes Community Development Board and ran a failed campaign for Secretary of State in 2016. During the 2019 legislative session, he was a vocal supporter for charter schools in West Virginia.
Retired Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office deputy Sean Crosier is challenging current Sheriff Mike Rutherford for the law enforcement position. Crosier served Kanawha County for 27 years before retiring in 2015 as a captain. In 2016, he was elected as sheriff in Monroe County, but resigned in August 2017, citing a need to spend more time with his family.
Rutherford has been with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office for more than 40 years. If elected this year, it will be his fourth term as sheriff.