Republican Moore Capito resigns from West Virginia Legislature to focus on governor's race

FILE - West Virginia House Judiciary Chairman Moore Capito presides over a public hearing at the West Virginia state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Feb. 2, 2023. Capito announced Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, he is resigning from the state Legislature to focus on his gubernatorial campaign (AP Photo/Leah Willingham, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Moore Capito, the son of U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, is resigning from the West Virginia Legislature to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

The Republican submitted a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw’s office declaring his resignation Thursday, weeks before the scheduled start of the 60-day session on Jan. 10.

“I was first elected back in 2016 alongside two other ‘get it done’ conservatives,” Capito said Thursday, speaking about his resignation on a press call with GOP Gov. Jim Justice. He said Justice was one of those conservatives, the other being former President Donald Trump. Trump won all 55 counties in West Virginia in 2016 and 2020.

“Boy, have we gotten things done for the state of West Virginia — we’ve built roads and cut taxes in West Virginia and we’ve created so many jobs,” Moore Capito said. “And I will tell you, as I travel around the state of West Virginia, what I’m hearing all across the state is that the people want more of what we have been getting, more of the policies that have put us on a path to prosperity.”

Capito, the grandson of former West Virginia Republican Gov. Arch Moore Jr., was elected to the House in 2016 representing Kanawha County. He serves as chair of the West Virginia Legislature’s House Judiciary Committee.

During the 2024 May primary, Capito will face prominent state Republicans Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Secretary of State Mac Warner and businessman Chris Miller, son of West Virginia U.S. Rep. Carol Miller.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams is running for governor as a Democratic candidate.

By law, Justice is responsible for appointing a Republican to finish the remainder of Capito’s term. The Kanawha County GOP Executive Committee will submit a list of names for the governor to choose from. Republican legislative leadership will select the lawmaker to replace Capito as Judiciary Committee chair.