Does Rockefeller intend to run again?
Well, the November 2012 General Election is over, the results filed if not fully digested, and the campaigns for the next one begin. This is situation normal.
Republican Shelley Moore Capito, having won her seventh term in the House, announced that she will run in 2014 for the U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Jay Rockefeller has held since 1984.
It's a testament to Capito's seriousness that she clarified her position early. Everyone in the state - voters, fund-raisers, political activists, other politicians - needs to know who is in and who is out.
Capito's announcement of her intentions helps other people decide what they are going to do.
Rockefeller, 75, has not said whether he will seek another term. But Aaron Blake of The Washington Post observed that Rockefeller is "considered one of the more likely retirees in 2014, and Capito's decision should increase the pressure on him to decide sooner rather than later."
The West Virginia Poll showed Capito, 59, with a 48-44 percent advantage in a head-to-head race with Rockefeller, with 8 percent of those polled undecided.
Small wonder that many people have urged her to run. And as Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Ry Rivard noted, Capito's decision will affect others as well.
If Capito's seat will come open in two short years, who will Republicans run? And what kind of candidate will the Democrats field after losing the 2nd District House seat seven cycles in a row?
This will require careful calculation, as will Democrats' choice for the U.S. Senate.
Capito, 59, runs well. The moderate Republican won in November with a 70 percent vote of confidence.
Were she to win the GOP's Senate nomination, Republicans would have a strong figure at the top of the 2014 ticket. That would help other GOP candidates.
Voters in all 55 counties rejected President Obama, who headed the Democratic ticket in November. Had it not been for the popular Sen. Joe Manchin in the No. 2 spot, Democrats further down the ticket might have suffered more than they did.
As it was, Republicans gained 11 seats in the House of Delegates - leaving up-and-coming Democrats wondering whether they would be around after 2014.
So it is now up to Rockefeller, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, to clarify the matter. Will he run? If not, what kind of Democrat will?
The future of hundreds of millions of Americans is shaped, one such decision at a time, state by state, district by district, right down to the local level.
This will be interesting. That's as it should be.