Capito was the Republicans' best hope to challenge Manchin, whom Wilson notes is "hugely popular in the state ... even though Pres. Obama has a dismal approval rating there, Manchin would have been the early favorite even over Capito."
Now, West Virginia Republicans' options are even less promising:
Without Capito, GOPers are likely to turn to one of several wealthy businessmen to step in. John Raese (R), who took 34% of the vote against Byrd in '06, is considering running for the seat again. Bob Adams, who runs the League of American Voters, is also thinking about a bid.
Neither candidate would have a lot of time to prepare a race. WV voters will select nominees in an Aug. 28 primary, then pick a replacement for Byrd during the already-scheduled Nov. 2 midterms.
Read the full story at Hotline OnCall.