Attorney Preservati considers opposing Capito in congressional race
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston attorney Nick Preservati could soon enter the race for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va.
"At this point, I am considering it, I'm seriously considering it," the Democrat said in a short phone call Wednesday night. "I will make a final decision one way or the other in the next few weeks."
In late 2012, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced she would seek the Senate seat. Shortly thereafter Rockefeller announced his intention to retire.
Several names have been kicked around as potential challengers for Capito's, but no one has committed.
Sen. Carte Goodwin, appointed to the position after Sen. Robert Byrd died in office, recently told The Associated Press he wasn't interested in the spot. Former Gov. Gaston Caperton also declined, and there's speculation U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., will run for re-election as opposed to facing the popular Capito in a Senate race.
Although Preservati has no formal political experience, The National Journal reported that he has the personal wealth, connections and convictions to make a formidable candidate.
The Journal reported that Preservati comes from a family heavily involved in southern West Virginia's coal mining industry.
"I'm not sure there's much difference between Shelley's position on coal and Nick Preservati's position and Joe Manchin's position," former state Democratic Party chairman Nick Casey told the journal.
Preservati is an attorney with Preservati Law Offices in Charleston. He represented AEP in a variety of different cases, according to the law firm's website.
He also worked for the Goodwin & Goodwin lawfirm before his work with AEP, the site states. That firm is of the same family as Carte Goodwin and U.S. District Attorney Booth Goodwin, popular Democrats in the state.
Preservati's website states he worked in Chicago before joining the Goodwin & Goodwin firm. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from Loyola University in Chicago.
Preservati recently made headlines as a member of the West Virginia School Building Authority. Although some on the board opposed sending money to Kanawha County Schools for an addition to John Adams Middle School, Preservati ardently supported the project.
Some members of the authority were upset the Kanawha County Board of Education recommended capping the amount of money it could receive in property taxes. While Preservati agreed the idea was questionable, he said the condition of the portable units in place at John Adams was inexcusable.
"When we were there, a snake fell out of the ceiling," Preservati told the Daily Mail in December.
Other potential Democratic contenders include Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who told the Daily Mail in January, "I will seriously look at it," Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, former state party chairman Mike Callaghan and attorney Ralph Baxter.
State Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said Preservati wouldn't be right for West Virginia.
"Harry Reid has continued his pursuit of a candidate who will support President Obama's agenda of assaulting our freedoms, raising our taxes and continuing Washington's addiction to spending," Lucas said.
"Harry Reid wants to handpick Nicholas Preservati to run with false claims that his views on coal are the same as Capito. Unlike Capito's record of standing up to Obama, Pelosi and Reid, Preservati would arrive in the Senate owing his loyalty only to Harry Reid."
"West Virginians know Capito is fighting for them and will continue to do so in the U.S. Senate while Harry Reid's candidate will vote against their interests from day one."