Unger a Democrat of Choice for Capito Race

Posted April 12, 2007 at 9:58am

State Sen. John Unger (D), who appears to be the choice of state and national Democrats to take on Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) in 2008, is considering a run for Congress.

Unger was in Washington, D.C., recently to meet with Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.), after being promoted by Mountain State Democrats as the perfect challenger to Capito in the 2nd district.

“We want you to run and we want to support you on that run,” Unger said he was told by Van Hollen during a meeting that took place two weeks ago at the DCCC. “I’m seriously thinking about it.”

Unger expects to make a decision by early summer, and West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey said he believes the state Senator will run.

Unger’s legislative district partially overlaps Capito’s Congressional seat, and where the two meet the state Senator has performed well compared with the Congresswoman, Casey said.

“He’s got geography on his side,” Casey said, adding that he believes Unger will run “if he gets financial backing, particularly from the DCCC.”

Capito won re-election in 2006 in a tough environment for Republicans with 57 percent of the vote, leading Republicans to believe the Congresswoman is prepared to handle whatever challenge is thrown her way next year.

She could face heavy targeting from Democrats, who, with fewer Republicans to pick off now that they’re in the majority, look to Democratic-rich West Virginia to grow their majority, Capito’s success over the past four cycles notwithstanding.

— David M. Drucker