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The Herald-Dispatch: Capito best choice for U.S. Senate

— *** Newspaper Endorsements 2014 ***—

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race this year will have an historic outcome no matter who wins.

For the first time in the state’s 151 years, one of its Senate seats will be held by a woman – either Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito or Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. If Capito wins, she also would be the first Republican senator from the Mountain State since the 1950s and could help the Republican Party gain a majority in the Senate.

As with the state’s congressional races, the campaign has been as much about the candidates’ national affiliations and associations as it has been about the political issues facing our region and our country. TV ads do their best to link Tennant to the Obama administration and Capito to Wall Street. But we found both candidates shared many positions.

Both candidates are “pro-coal,” pledge to fight EPA overreach and support mine safety programs. Both candidates say they will work to improve education, create jobs, protect Social Security and reduce drug abuse in West Virginia. Capito and Tennant do differ on the Affordable Care Act, with Capito in favor of repealing the legislation and starting over, while Tennant supports making any necessary adjustments to the existing law.

We understand that some voters will make their decision along strictly partisan lines. But for those in the middle or undecided, we feel Captio’s knowledge and experience give her the edge.

Although either candidate would be among the U.S. Senate’s most junior members, Capito has served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and shows a stronger grasp of both domestic affairs and foreign policy. Capito also has a head start on making the case for coal on the national stage. After all, most residents and leaders from our region understand the importance of coal to the Appalachian economy. The challenge is convincing people and representatives in other parts of the country that coal plays a critical role in the nation’s energy mix. Capito has been working for several years to build the Coal Caucus in Congress to advance that message, and in the Senate she will have a louder voice.

We feel Capito is the more capable candidate who can represent West Virginia’s interests on big national issues, build cooperation in Washington and provide the local assistance and constituent service that are so critical for small states such as West Virginia.

Follow The Herald-Dispatch’s endorsements and news coverage at http://www.herald-dispatch.com/

Editor’s Note: The West Virginia Press Association is compiling political endorsements offered by its member newspapers to give readers a statewide view. For more endorsements, visit https://wvpress.wpengine.com/opinion/endorsementweek2014/

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