"I think Ken Hechler is a respected West Virginia political figure that is of the caliber that would fit in the position he's running for," he said.
The group's political action committee, Citizens PAC, has yet to endorse a candidate for the Senate race because the filing period, which began Tuesday, doesn't end until Friday. But the group has supported Hechler in the past.
Hechler said he is more focused on using his campaign as a platform to discuss mountaintop mining in West Virginia.
"I'm running for the environmentalists who are opposed to mountaintop removal," he said. "It's a way to put it on the ballot. I'm trying to give an opportunity for all those people in the state to show there is strength in our numbers."
He said environmentalists and other foes of mountaintop mining might rally behind him at the polls.
"I'll have an opportunity then to articulate this in the general election," Hechler said. "I'm not ineligible to take office, but I don't expect that to happen. I just want to mobilize people to take a stand on this issue."
Hechler's age became an issue during the 2004 primary for secretary of state.
Democratic opponent Mike Oliverio paid to have a sticker attached to the front page of the Daily Mail and Gazette that said, "Mike Oliverio, Democrat for secretary of state. I'm not 89 years old."
Hechler made an issue of age himself in 2000 in a failed bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat. One 30-second TV spot showed Hechler, then-secretary of state, playing tennis with regular partner Jay Barkley, 24.
Hechler has seen history.
When he was drafted, Pvt. Hechler had his Ph.D. and had worked in Franklin D. Roosevelt's White House. He went through Officer Candidate School and mustered out as a major in 1946.
He landed shortly after D-Day on Omaha Beach.
As a congressman, Hechler was the principal author of the federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. He also worked toward passage of the 1977 Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act.
Hechler's campaign trademark since 1960 has been a red Jeep.
While JFK and Hubert Humphrey engaged in their historic 1960 showdown in the West Virginia primary, Hechler was seeking his second term in the House of Representatives. He drove a Chevrolet convertible during his first congressional try in 1958. He won but harbored doubts about the Chevy's suitability as a campaign buggy.
Since then, it's been the red Jeep.
And, so, it seems, it will be again.