Capito files for reelection, faces potential race with Ojeda

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito filed for reelection Friday, setting up a potential 2020 showdown with former presidential candidate Richard Ojeda in West Virginia.

Capito, a Republican, announced she was running last year but has now officially submitted her reelection paperwork with the secretary of state 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 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 have 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.”