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Capito reacts to Rockefeller announcement

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Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., began campaigning for the 2014 midterm election before the dust settled from the 2012 campaign.

Just three weeks after she was elected to her seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Capito announced she had set her sights on a U.S. Senate seat occupied by longtime Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat.

That set the stage for an interesting race. Rockefeller beat out Capito's father, Arch Moore, in the 1976 race for governor, four years after Moore beat Rockefeller for the same seat, meaning Capito could have continued the political rivalry.

However, Rockefeller put an end to those hopes when he announced Jan. 11 he would not seek re-election.

Rockefeller, 75, said the decision to retire from public service was one he reached with his wife, Sharon, bearing their family in mind. His time in public service began as a VISTA volunteer in 1964.

"I've decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family," he said.

Rockefeller has served West Virginia in many ways, including as a member of the House of Delegates, secretary of state and two-term governor. But Capito said in her November announcement that it was time for a new voice to represent West Virginia.

"West Virginia needs a new and diverse voice in the United States Senate, a voice that can listen and can walk with others to achieve great things," she said. "The United States Senate needs a voice that stands for common senses and fairness. I believe I can be that voice. And will ask voters for theirs support when I run for the United States Senate in 2014."

She said Jan. 11, following Rockefeller's announcement, her campaign will focus on bringing jobs to the Mountain State.

"My campaign, when it goes full-bore, will be about having a voice that served West Virginia for now almost 16 years and working to keep jobs in the West Virginia economy," she told WOWK-TV.

Like Rockefeller, Capito got her start in the House of Delegates, where she represented Kanawha County for two terms. Since being elected to Congress in 2000, Capito has worked on the House Financial Services Committee, including serving as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. She also has served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

She said her works on those committees has improved life for West Virginians.

"I think I have worked in big ways and small ways as a member of Congress to do things that ensure a good future for our children and our grandchildren, and I would continue to do that as senator," she said.

If Capito wins in 2014, she'll be the first Republican senator to represent West Virginia since John Hoblitzell in 1958. She also would become the first woman to represent West Virginia in the U.S Senate.