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Capito to be W.Va.’s first female U.S. senator

 Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito raises her hands in victory during a celebration at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. Capito will be the first woman to represent the state in the U.S. Senate, and the first Republican senator from the state in 56 years.

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Craig Cunningham
Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito raises her hands in victory during a celebration at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. Capito will be the first woman to represent the state in the U.S. Senate, and the first Republican senator from the state in 56 years.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will be West Virginia’s first female U.S. senator after the seven-term congresswoman handily defeated Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in Tuesday’s election.

With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Capito led Tennant by a 27-point margin — 62 to 35 percent — according to results compiled by MetroNews. The Associated Press called the race for Capito a minute after polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Fox News and CNN also called the race immediately.

“I am extremely gratified and humbled,” Capito said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “It’s just an incredible honor to be the first woman going to the United States Senate for our state.”

She will replace longtime Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who announced in January 2013 that he would not seek a sixth term. Capito announced her intent to run for Senate prior to Rockefeller’s announcement, making her campaign official a short time after the November 2012 general election.

Tennant, now in her second term as secretary of state, kicked off her campaign in September 2013.

Capito was a heavy favorite in the Senate race, leading by double-digits in most polls conducted during the campaign.

Tennant tried to paint Capito as a lapdog for Wall Street financiers, while Capito argued a vote for Tennant would be a vote for the policies of President Barack Obama, who is deeply unpopular in West Virginia.

Tennant’s campaign also suffered a late stumble when, on the first day of early voting, she was accused of campaigning on the steps of the Kanawha County Voters Registration Office, a violation of state early voting laws..

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