Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., may be looking ahead to her Senate race, but she is keeping a close eye on the race to replace her in the 2nd District. And the seven-term congresswoman is not exactly confident about her party's chances of holding the seat.
"I think we can hold it, but not without a lot of resources and a good candidate," she said in a phone interview.
Her concern is geography. West Virginia divides the state into House districts horizontally, stacking the three districts on top of each other stretching from east to west.
"It's a difficult district to hold and it is hard to cover," she said in a phone interview. "It is five and a half hours from point to point."
And so the hunt for a GOP successor has started.
Earlier this month, a top recruit opted to stay in the state legislature rather than run for the House. But a number of other Republicans are in contention. Maryland's former GOP chairman, Alex Mooney, announced a few weeks ago that he would move across state lines to run for the seat. (See CQ Roll Call's "The Field" for other GOP contenders.)
On the Democratic side, Charleston attorney Nick Casey announced his candidacy. Other Democrats could still jump into the race as well.
Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates West Virginia’s 2nd as Republican Favored.
Republicans are finding increasing success in West Virginia, thanks in part to President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity there. But in local races, Democrats have been able to hold their ground.
"West Virginia is a tough state for a Republican," Capito said.