State Auditor Glen Gainer will run for Congress in the West Virginia's northern district, sources told the Daily Mail.
The Democrat and longtime state official could make the announcement that he is seeking his party's nomination for the post as soon as today. If he wins the primary, he would challenge incumbent Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.
A source provided the information on the condition of anonymity.
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio would not confirm Gainer's candidacy, but said he understood Gainer planned to announce something today.
A Parkersburg native, Gainer was first elected as auditor in 1992. He took over for his father, who shares his name and ran the office from 1977 until 1993.
The younger Gainer, 53, was re-elected easily in 2012 over Republican challenger Larry V. Faircloth.
Without going into specifics, Puccio said Gainer has done a great job in his time as auditor.
"His credibility is very, very high, and he would be an outstanding candidate for an office such as Congress in the first congressional district," Puccio said.
The auditor's office approves all state payments and regularly inspects financial records of cities and counties. The auditor also sits on the boards of numerous public financial agencies and committees.
Despite name recognition and his work with the state, two national political experts think Gainer is still a long shot to defeat McKinley.
"The challenge for Gainer will be to make that huge leap from a state officeholder to a candidate for federal office in a midterm election with Barack Obama (as president)," said Stu Rothenburg, political analyst and editor of the nonpartisan The Rothenburg Political Report.
"That is a very challenging step."
Polls have laid much of the blame for the recent federal shutdown at the feet of McKinley and his fellow Republicans in the House. Rothenburg said he could see how that might have enticed Gainer to run, but he didn't think it really helped Gainer's chances in the race.
"Here's the problem: that logic views the government shutdown as the last significant act before the 2014 election," Rothenburg said.
"In the last month, the whole narrative has changed. Nobody's talking the shutdown anymore..."