CHARLESTON, W.Va. - State Sen. Evan Jenkins and Rep. Nick Joe Rahall might be eyeing a congressional battle next year, but they've contributed to each other's campaigns in the past.
Jenkins, a Cabell County Democrat rumored to have interest in swapping parties to challenge Rahall, D-W.Va., contributed $500 to a past Rahall campaign.
Jenkins has also received $1,000 from Rahall for his own campaigns, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
In a phone interview late Monday, Jenkins said he wasn't ready to make an announcement on his political future. He said not much should be read into his past contributions.
"This contribution was two election cycles ago. I did not make a contribution to his campaign in 2012, which would be a more current reflection of my view of his performance in Congress," Jenkins said.
Allen Crow, Rahall campaign spokesman, answered a call from the Daily Mail and said he would call right back. He did not.
An article published Monday on the political news website Politico.com indicated that Rahall expects Jenkins to switch parties.
If Jenkins does challenge Rahall, it would be the second time in three elections a former Democrat flipped to face off with the longtime congressman. In 2010, former state Supreme Court Justice Elliot "Spike" Maynard lost in his bid against Rahall.
Rahall seemed to reference both Maynard and Jenkins in the Politico article.
"I'm not going to run away from those that brought me to the dance and renounce my party because I disagree with our president," Rahall told the publication. "But I've dealt with traitors before, and I'll deal with traitors again."
Jenkins said he'd seen the article.
"I don't know who he's referring to, and he has been aggressive toward his opponents in the past," Jenkins said. "And whether I'm an opponent or somebody else is, I would expect him to continue his aggressive attacks."
Jenkins, 54, is an attorney and works as the executive director of the West Virginia Medical Association. He represents Cabell County and parts of Wayne County as one of two senators in the 5th District.
He joined the House of Delegates in 1994 before losing a bid for a spot on the state Supreme Court in 2000. A successful 2002 campaign brought Jenkins to the state Senate, where he remains. He ran as a Democrat in each of those elections.
In October 2010, Jenkins donated $500 to the "Keep Nick Rahall in Congress Committee," a campaign committee, according to FEC records.