Congressman David McKinley announced his intentions Monday to run for re-election in West Virginia’s 1st District after earlier statements that he would consider leaving Washington to run for governor.
McKinley’s announcement, which came on a conference call with reporters, marks the first official announcement by a prospective Republican gubernatorial candidate either way in the race.
McKinley maintains the state Republican Party was not involved in his decision to stay in Washington. Instead, the Congressman said he and his wife decided to put aside “personal aspirations” and fight for the West Virginians who have lost their jobs in the mining industry.
“These are products, these are casualties of a war on coal and that war on coal didn’t originated in Charleston,” McKinley said. “It came from the Whitehouse and that’s where I think I can serve best is back here in Washington as a member of Congress.”
McKinley’s announcement paves the way for Senate President Bill Cole to declare his run for the Republican nomination. Cole’s website is already up and running and he’s scheduled to make the official announcement Tuesday morning at his Nissan dealership in Bluefield.
On the Democratic side, only Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and coal baron and Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice have filed to run for the state's top office.