In 2010 he ran for the seat, coming in third in the GOP primary. "Jumping ship" and leaving his current job isn't the right move at this point, Lucas said.
"I'm always interested, but I can't imagine me doing it," Lucas said.
"Every call is highly flattering, but I don't have any temptation at the moment to leave the chairmanship," he said later in the interview.
Earlier this year the NRCC listed Rahall's seat in its "red zone," calling the race one of its seven top priorities nationally for the 2014 election. It's also already spent $12,000 earlier in the year on ads chastising Rahall for his votes on a budget amendment the GOP says attacked coal and his vote against the Keystone pipeline project.
Voters in the third congressional district, most of southern West Virginia, also supported the Republican candidate in the past three presidential elections. Citing this, Prior said he expects any GOP candidate stands a great chance of beating the long-time Democrat incumbent.
"In the third district, we have one of the worst congressman in America, so it makes that race not as difficult as registration numbers would indicate," Lucas said.
He thinks names of potential GOP challengers could surface as soon as July. Prior said he wouldn't be surprised to see official announcements from Republican candidates come in the fall.
State democrats had a different take on Cole's decision.
"The Congressman is well liked and is in a strong position for re-election, evidence being a top recruit taking his name out of the race," said Jacob Winowich, executive director for the West Virginia Democratic Party.
Democrats are also excited about the apparent party frontrunner in the second congressional district, former party chairman Nick Casey. Lucas said even without Nelson in the race, GOP contenders for the second district are strong.
From Kanawha County, both Charlotte Lane and Steve Harrison have expressed interest in vying for the Republican nomination. Both are former state lawmakers, and Lucas said both have strong voter appeal.
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