September 24, 2005


GOING AFTER BYRD (Robert Novak, 9/24/05, Townhall)

Republican leaders have a strong backup candidate to challenge Sen. Robert Byrd's election in West Virginia to a ninth term: former West Virginia University basketball coach Gale Catlett.

The GOP's first choice is still Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, but she has shown reluctance to run. Catlett remains a popular figure with instant recognition in West Virginia.

The 87-year-old Byrd, the Senate's senior member in both age and service, is a living legend in the Mountaineer state. But Republicans believe he is incapable of waging a vigorous campaign and would be vulnerable to a strong challenger. Catlett is 64 years old.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 24, 2005 9:37 AM

Byrd hunting? Bringing home the goose that lays the golden eggs? Sounds to good to be true ... kind of like a fairy tale.

Posted by: Genecis at September 24, 2005 10:15 AM

I once interviewed a former West Virginia basketball player for a job. He said Catlett was a great X's and O's coach and game strategist, but wasn't so good at player development and putting guys into the NBA.

Anyway, he's a smart guy. If Capito is too cowardly or complacent to run, I wish Catlett well.

Posted by: pj at September 24, 2005 10:54 AM

Being a "young" challenger at 64 must make you feel like a member of the Soviet Politburo. In that gremium, you were young when you could still breathe autonomously.

Posted by: Peter at September 24, 2005 11:05 AM

Catlett's kind of a weird guy (see his comments about Rick Majerus before WVU played Utah in the NCAAs in '98) and has no shot at beating Byrd unless, well, the strain of hitting the stump leaves the incumbent incapacitated.

Posted by: AC at September 24, 2005 6:43 PM

I don't know enough about their local geography, but is Catlett somehow associated with the town of Catlettsburg (big gasoline refining area)?

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 25, 2005 10:03 AM