Could Capito Beat Byrd?

Via fellow WV Blogger Don Surber, this Charleston Gazette piece:

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., could be in serious trouble if Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., challenges him for his Senate seat, according to a national columnist and pundit.

“If the Republicans get Capito, I think Byrd could very well lose,” said Eleanor Clift, a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine and a regular on Fox News and the PBS show “The McLaughlin Group.”

Clift spoke Saturday to more than 200 people at the Snowshoe Institute, an educational and cultural event at Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

Byrd alienated many West Virginians with his outspoken opposition to the Iraq war, Clift said. And Republicans will exploit his advanced age in the 2006 election, she said.

Meanwhile, Capito is a rising star in the Republican Party. They allowed her to vote against President Bush last week on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, Clift said, in order to bolster her political chances. CAFTA passed by a two-vote margin.

GOP leaders are pushing her to run, but Capito is reluctant to take on a living legend, for personal reasons, Clift said.

“She’s going to be a senator someday, why should she rush?” Clift said. “If she does, I think he’s in real trouble.”

This is going to be interesting. Should Capito choose to not run, Don has come up with a list of possible other GOP candidates.