CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For the 20th time, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall is running to represent West Virginia in Washington, D.C.
"Let there be no doubt . . . I am running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives from West Virginia's Third District and will keep fighting to put WEST VIRGINIA FIRST!" Rahall said in a statement emailed by spokesman Allan Crow.
The longtime Democratic congressman plans to send out a fundraising/announcement letter soon, Crow said. Although there were rumors of such a letter before, this was the first time for a Rahall representative to confirm the congressman's intentions.
"The congressman is actively running for re-election and believes, part with Sen. Rockefeller leaving the Senate, Congressman Rahall's experience and seniority is more needed than ever," Crow said in a phone interview.
"It's going to be more important than ever to have someone in Congress to put West Virginia first and fight for West Virginia coal jobs and stand up to those who want to conduct a war on coal."
Earlier this year Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., announced he would retire when his term expires in 2014. Many speculated Rahall would seek the seat but he announced earlier this month he did not plan to do so.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who currently holds the state's 2nd District seat, announced her plans to run for the U.S. Senate weeks before Rockefeller announced his retirement.
Meanwhile, the GOP continues its attacks on Rahall. The latest push might resonate with football fans.
The National Republican Congressional Committee says it has added Rahall to its "Red Zone Program," an attempt to unseat seven Democrats from their House positions in 2014.
The seven districts voted for the GOP presidential candidate in the last three elections, and the party thinks the spots could be vulnerable for a flop.