CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Longtime West Virginia statewide officeholder Glen Gainer announced Friday his plans to run for Congress next year.
Gainer, who has been the state auditor for 21 years, told MetroNews he’s been considering a run in the First District race for several months but the recent federal government shutdown pushed him over the top.
“The games that are going on in Washington—placing political agendas above the welfare of the people of this country and this state and particularly the First Congressional District, it’s time that the games stop,” Gainer said.
The Wood County Democrat made his initial announcement in Clarksburg Friday morning with a later announcement scheduled in Wheeling. He said his experience running statewide campaigns would greatly help in a congressional district race.
Gainer admitted running for Congress would be very expensive and he promised to work hard to raise the money necessary. MetroNews asked Gainer if the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had promised financial support. He didn’t specifically answer the question.
Gainer said two-term Republican Congressman David McKinley has been out of touch with the residents of the First District.
“His performance has really been almost non-existent,” Gainer said. “He’s not been effective. He’s not leading and trying to bring change to the First Congressional District. And if anything, he’s been part of the problem.”
The West Virginia Republican Party was quick to respond to Gainer’s announcement calling him an “Obama endorser.”
“We proudly stand with conservative, pro-coal Congressman David McKinley to represent folks in northern West Virginia. If Democrat leaders like Nancy Pelosi think we need more liberals like Glen Gainer, West Virginia families have much to fear,” GOP Chair Conrad Lucas said in a prepared statement.
The GOP also pointed out out a pair of Ethics Commission investigations against Gainer in recent months.
Candidates will formally file to run for office in January.