CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Newly elected Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines announced Tuesday she would campaign for the state Senate in 2014, setting her sights on the seat occupied by longtime Sen. Brooks McCabe.
Speaking to reporters outside Belle Town Hall, just feet from the spot where she was named "Miss Belle" in 2001, Raines said serving the 17th Senate District would allow her to represent much of her current district, as well as her native eastern Kanawha County.
McCabe, who has served in the state Senate since 1998, is expected to announce his intentions for the 2014 election next month. Raines said she has heard McCabe would not seek reelection, however.
"That did weigh on my decision," she said.
Raines called McCabe Tuesday morning to discuss her plans for the race.
"I appreciate his service, and thanked him for that," she said.
McCabe said he appreciated the phone call, but emphasized he has not made a final decision.
"I think that a lot of people know that I'm considering not running. It's a big decision, I just want to make the right decision and be comfortable with it," he said. "I don't believe in term limits, but in my own case, I really use this election cycle as a thoughtful process."
McCabe said he never makes hasty decisions about running for reelection. He said Raines' candidacy would not influence his decision.
"She's very capable, I hold her in very high regard. I've always, in many ways been fortunate to run against very good candidates," he said.
McCabe and his wife, Barbie, plan to take an extended vacation later this month to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. McCabe, a self-confessed workaholic, hasn't taken many vacations in his life but said this trip would provide an opportunity to think about his future.
"Barbie got me to agree to this," he said. "I've got to start lightening up and taking more time for my family. This is part of that, so I'm actually looking forward to it."
"That'll give me a couple weeks just to clear my head and make sure I'm making the right decision."