CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senator Bill Cole reiterated Thursday on MetroNews Talkine there would be no person named “No Candidate Filed” on the Republican side of the ballot in next year’s state Senate races.

Cole, R-Mercer, has been busy recruiting candidates for the past several months. He’s interested in 14 races. He said if GOP candidates can win 9 of 14 it can take control of the Senate.

“We got 30 days to go and a few seats to fill but we intend to do it,” Cole said. The filing period begins in January.

Cole recently helped recruit retired insurance agent Ed Gaunch to run for a Kanawha County seat along with Lewisburg small business owner Duane Zobrist to run in the 10th Senatorial District race. Cole also said Thursday Mattress Warehouse founder and owner Kim Knopf was weighing her options about running for a state or congressional seat. 

“What a phenomenal candidate,” Cole said about Knopf. “A self-made, incredibly successful businesswoman. I’m excited she’s considering it.”

Senator Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, who could be challenged by Gaunch next year, said Thursday one must give credit to Sen. Cole for his ambitions. Wells said those ambitions are clear.

“Sen. Cole’s whole agenda here is that he wants to flip the Senate, become Senate president, and set himself up for 2016 to run for governor,” Wells said.

The senator said Cole’s efforts may remind West Virginia voters of someone else, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

“When you have one person who is trying to recruit everybody it’s almost like a throwback to the Don Blankenship days. In fact, we’re going to go through a sequel here,” Sen. Wells predicted.

Wells added he believes having a challenger makes him a better candidate. Wells called Gaunch after he announced his candidacy earlier this month.

Sen. Cole said his efforts are not about left and right but about getting the right person in office who can help the state.

“We’re virtually last in so many of those measurements that we need to be first in. Why not give a new guy a chance? Our founding fathers were pretty bright when they came up with a two party system a few years ago. We just haven’t had a two party system in West Virginia since the 1930s,” Senator Cole said.

Three of the Republican senate candidates next year have switched political parties from Democrat to Republican.

“There’s a wave a sentiment that their party left them,” Cole said. “And the Republican Party is better representing what they feel the future of West Virginia needs.”

Cole said he’s also working on candidates for possible runs in Raleigh and Monongalia counties.

bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • Anne Lieberman

    "Sen. Cole’s whole agenda here is that he wants to flip the Senate, become Senate president, and set himself up for 2016 to run for governor,” Wells said.

    Nothing wrong with that! The Democrats have had their way with this state for decades, and just look at what a poor wreck of mess they've made of it. We need some fresh air, not the same old stale, hot air from the same old stale politicians.

    If not now, when?

  • CaptainQ

    Good luck with that recruitment drive, Billy, you'll need it.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Democrats still run things in WV and they always will. Count on it.

    • Anne Lieberman

      CaptainQ's comment speaks for itself. The Dems believe they can forever hold on to power without reference to the people they stopped serving long ago. We shall see...

  • Elizabeth

    The truest sentence in the above is that WV has not been 2 party for three quarters of a century. Senator Wells comes off as whiny - not surprising. Good luck, Senator Cole. The people of this great State, and the country for that matter, are getting plenty fed up with the way things have been going for the last few decades. Don't use the 'Founding Fathers' routine unless you mean it, and are TRULY willing to stand for it. ALL of it.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    I hereby nominate "None of the Above".

  • Neal

    A highly intelligent and well thought out post. Thank you for raising the level of preception of the people of our wonderful state.

    • Neal


  • Aaron

    No one should have a free ride to any public office, let alone a State Senate seat. I commend Senator Cole for his efforts, regardless of his efforts.

    • Aaron

      regardless of his motives.

  • derek

    No Mr.Cole knows business and how to get things moving we have little to none Manufacturing ibm southern WV. if you live below Raleigh County you are forgotten about. There are plenty of sights for development in Princeton and Bluefield as also McDowell County.

  • C. F. T.

    In 2014, any candidate of any party who will stand strong for conservative values, Christian beliefs and with backbone to not pander to the "politically correct" will revive my vote. Liberals you are welcome to spew your programed and predictable poo on my post, bring it on !!!!

    • Robert

      "Christian...bring it...poo"!!! Too funny...way too funny!!! Poo...hahaha