Recently re-elected Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants is seriously considering a run for U.S. House, he said Thursday.
Plants went unopposed to win a second term on Nov. 6. He now joins the ever-growing list of politicians and political insiders vying to replace Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Capito said this week she plans to run for U.S. Senate in 2014.
"I've talked to my friends and family and a trusted circle of advisers and, at some point, have to make an informed decision," Plants said.
He said the biggest obstacle to his run was his love for his job as prosecutor. Plants spent two years as an assistant prosecutor before winning his first four-year term in 2008.
"I think everybody has a drive to move on to the next level but, with that said, there's positives and negatives to any decision, and I'm just absolutely honored to be Kanawha County prosecutor," he said in a telephone interview. "I'm just honored that people are throwing my name out there as a potential candidate."
Electoral victories in the state's largest county give Plants and other Kanawha office holders a leg up in any congressional race. Officials from the populous Eastern Panhandle - like Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, who is also considering a running - share a similar advantage.
Plants is considering what it would mean to try to leave the prosecutor's office midway through his term.
"I want to do what's right for the people that just elected me," he said.
But he also has what's known as a "free shot" at Congress because he can be on the 2014 ballot and not risk losing his current position.
That's a cushion other Kanawha County politicians - like Republican Delegates Eric Nelson, Patrick Lane, Tim Armstead and Democratic Sen. Erik Wells and Delegate Doug Skaff - do not enjoy because they are back on the ballot in 2014. All have expressed interest in running for U.S. House in 2014, but each would have to give up their current seat to run.
Those are some but not all of the names floating about.