Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: Nov. 26, 1953, Glen Dale .
Education: Duke U., B.S. 1975, U. of VA, M.Ed. 1976.
Family: Married (Charles); 3 children.
Elected office: WV House of Del., 1996-2000.
Professional Career: Career counselor, WV State Col., 1976-78; Dir., Educ. Info. Center, WV Board of Regents, 1978-81.
The congresswoman from the 2nd District is Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican first elected in 2000. She grew up in northern West Virginia and in the Washington, D.C., area, when her father, Arch Moore, served in the House from 1957 to 1969. He was elected governor in 1968 and 1972, and then again in 1984. He later was convicted and served three years in jail for fraud and extortion. Shelley Moore Capito graduated from Duke University and the University of Virginia, and is the first Cherry Blossom Princess elected to Congress. She worked for two years as a career counselor at West Virginia State College, and then was director of the state’s Educational Information Center from 1978 to 1981. She served two terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Her opportunity to follow in her father’s footsteps came when Democratic Rep. Bob Wise ran for governor in 2000. She benefited from a divisive Democratic primary that was won by Jim Humphreys, a former state senator and a lawyer who made a fortune in asbestos litigation and spent $3 million of his own money to win the Democratic nomination. Capito, who supported abortion rights, started as the underdog but Humphreys, who spent another $6 million in the general election, proved to be a poor candidate. One of the few beneficiaries of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush’s coattails that year, she won 48%-46%, with big margins in the eastern panhandle counties.
|Shelley Moore Capito (R)||147,334||(57%)||($2,283,316)|
|Anne Barth (D)||110,819||(43%)||($1,182,701)|
|Shelley Moore Capito (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (57%), 2004 (57%), 2002 (60%), 2000 (48%)
In the House, Capito has received special attention from Republican leaders because of her precarious district. She was one of the few House Republicans to get a free pass to vote against the president’s position on free trade bills. After Democrats took control of Congress in 2007, Capito voted for five of the Democratic “Six for ‘06” agenda items, voting only against requiring the government to negotiate with drug companies under the Medicare prescription drug program. As the ranking Republican on the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee at Financial Services, she worked in recent years with Democrats on bipartisan proposals to reduce home foreclosures. But Capito is a firm Bush ally on the Iraq war.
After a deadly accident at the Sago mine in 2006, Capito joined the West Virginia delegation in supporting legislation to improve mine safety by requiring that coal miners be given communications and tracking equipment and two-hour reserves of oxygen. After the Senate passed the bill, she persuaded House Republican leaders to schedule it for the floor, and Bush signed the bill into law in 2006. She joined the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in 2009 to, as she put it, “bring a coal-state perspective.” She was a leading supporter of mandates to produce coal-to-liquids fuel. Her work on coal issues has earned her admirers in strange quarters. The United Mine Workers endorsed Capito in her 2004 re-election bid after praising her for blocking a Labor Department bid to weaken regulations on coal dust, and for legislation to protect medical benefits for retired miners, including 15,000 in West Virginia.
At home, Capito has settled comfortably into her seat. In 2002, Democrats gave her a big break by again nominating Humphreys, who won another expensive primary and then ran an even more ineffective campaign than the one two years earlier. Capito won 60%-40%. In 2004, her Democratic opponent was former television anchorman Erik Wells, but national Democrats abandoned interest in the district. In 2006, she had a well-funded opponent in attorney Mike Callaghan, a former state Democratic Party chairman. In a year when Bush was a drag for many Republicans, Capito was unafraid to align herself with Bush on issues like energy policy. Capito outspent her opponent by nearly 4-to-1 and won 57%-43%. In 2008, longtime Byrd aide Anne Barth was her Democratic challenger and raised $1.2 million, including support from the United Mine Workers, EMILY’s List and the National Organization for Women. She criticized Capito for her support of “big oil,” while Capito cited Barth’s backing from “anti-coal” politicians in Washington. Capito won, again by 57%-43%.