West Virginia Republicans are wasting little time. The day West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced plans to retire at the end of his term, the state's GOP launched its 2014 campaign efforts.
The state Republican Party sent out this release on Friday morning:
Today is the next step in West Virginia's conservative future. This 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate here will mean a clear choice for voters. Will folks support a Republican who will fight for our coal jobs and protect us from Washington, D.C.? Absolutely.
The Republican Difference will be clear. Our pro-energy, pro-family candidate will be a stark contrast to the liberals that the West Virginia Democrat Party will offer.
The future of this state is truly what's at stake. It's too valuable to trust to anyone who has spent the last four years helping Barack Obama destroy our jobs and crater this nation's economy. It's truly a time for choosing.
Democrats have held the seat since 1958, and Republicans view Rockefeller's retirement as a prime opportunity to shift it to GOP control.
Update: The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee released this statement shortly after, calling Rockefeller's seat a strong "pickup opportunity for Republicans."
“Sen. Rockefeller’s decision not to seek re-election makes West Virginia an even stronger pickup opportunity for Republicans in 2014. Voters next year will have a clear choice between a Democrat who will be a loyal vote for President Obama and Harry Reid as they try to kill West Virginia's coal industry and bankrupt our country with reckless government spending, versus a Republican who will serve as an effective check-and-balance on their liberal agenda and work to get our country's economy back on track.”