Rahall plans to run again
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.
The NRCC spent $12,000 on a television advertising campaign earlier this year to criticize Rahall for his vote on a proposed budget amendment, NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said. Proponents called it the "Back to Work Budget" and said it would create 7 million jobs.
The GOP said the plan, which was proposed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was an attack on the coal industry. Rahall was one of 84 Democrats to vote for the measure; 104 Democrats and every Republican voted against.
Rahall is used to GOP attacks from outside and inside the state, Crow said.
"He plans to campaign very hard and very vigorously and fight back very strongly against the big special interest and out-of-state folks who want to come in and spend millions to try and beat him."
No GOP challenger has announced plans to enter the race. It won't remain that way for long, according to an announcement emailed from the state party.
"We will have a quality candidate and resources that ensure Congressman Rahall's personal war on coal will be stopped," said state party chairman Conrad Lucas.
"West Virginia families deserve a representative who will protect our liberties and our energy jobs, not destroy them," he continued.
Freshman state Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, reportedly is considered a prospect by the NRCC, but Cole hasn't announced his plans yet. Former Delegate Rick Snuffer, who lost to Rahall in the last election, is also rumored to be considering another run for the seat.