Associated Press Published

Senate President Bill Cole to Run for Governor

Bill Cole

Republican state Senate President Bill Cole has announced that he will run for West Virginia governor in 2016.

The prominent auto dealer made his announcement Tuesday morning at a Nissan dealership he owns near Bluefield. The Mercer County lawmaker then headed to Charleston for additional events at the Capitol.


Cole is the first Republican front-runner to join the race. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is also considering a bid. Congressman David McKinley ruled out a run Monday.

On the Democratic side, billionaire businessman Jim Justice has kicked off a campaign. State Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler is also officially in the race.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin cannot run again because he is reaching a limit of two consecutive terms.

Cole finished his first legislative session as Senate president in March.