CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Treasurer John Perdue, whose business and political dealings are subject of a federal investigation, may face a Republican challenger in 2012.
Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said Wednesday he is giving "serious thought" to running for treasurer.
"I have 25 plus years in investment banking and obviously, with some of the additional light that has been shed on this position in the last month or so, I felt it was an opportune time to look at, is there a match?" Nelson said.
Perdue didn't face a Republican or Democratic challenger in 2008.
Perdue is planning to run for reelection in 2012, his political spokesman George Manahan said Wednesday.
But at least one Democrat - Delegate Doug Reynolds, D-Cabell - is still watching to see if Perdue drops out of the race.
"Today he is a candidate for reelection to the House of Delegates, but if something changes and Perdue decides not to run, he would strongly consider filing for Treasurer and he wants to keep the door open because he has always wanted to run for statewide office," Reynolds' political consultant, Larry LaCorte, said Wednesday.
The "additional light" Nelson was referring to could dog
Perdue during any campaign.
The FBI and federal prosecutors are conducting a rather public investigation of Perdue's dealings. They are known to be looking at a development deal involving land Perdue once owned that used money from the state Housing Development Fund, of which Perdue is a board member.
Perdue has also told his staff to cooperate with federal investigators, who reportedly are looking at the unusually large number of high-dollar donations staffers made to his failed campaign for governor.
Even if the investigation goes away and clears Perdue, negative ads practically write themselves next year.
Perdue has won all four of his bids for treasurer by wide margins, though he made a poor showing in this year's Democratic gubernatorial primary that may have tarnished his brand.
Perdue, a former aide to Gov. Gaston Caperton, was first elected in 1996 with 61 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed in 2000. He won 59 percent of the vote in 2004. In 2008, Perdue faced a write-in candidate in the general election who received only 324 votes.
Perdue, a traditional southern politician who has put in long hours for the party, is beloved by some Democrats, though he may now be more vulnerable than in the past.