Updated 11:37 a.m. | West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller will retire at the end of his term in 2014. The 75-year-old senator made the announcement Friday morning in Charleston.
“As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, 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," Rockefeller said, according to a statement released by his office.
The five-term senator's retirement immediately puts his seat in jeopardy. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy for the seat in November.
Among the Democrats mentioned as possible candidates are former Sen. Carte P. Goodwin, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis.
While Capito is considered the best possible candidate by many Republicans, some conservatives have made clear they are looking for an alternative. The Senate Conservatives Fund issued a statement Friday morning reiterating that they will continue to search for another GOP candidate.
"We're not going to stop looking for a conservative challenger in this race until the primary is over," SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said. "The voters in West Virginia get to decide who represents them and they should have a conservative choice."