WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia 1st District Congressman David McKinley announced Monday he will seek re-election to Congress next year instead of seeking the Republican nomination for governor.
“There comes a time that you have to put aside what you want to do for yourself and do what’s right for the country and what’s right for our state, where we can we be most effective,” McKinley told reporters during a mid-afternoon conference call.
He said the thousands of coal miners have lost their jobs in recent years, including recent layoffs announced by Murray Energy, were the tipping point in his decision.
“People just have to understand—hopefully they will—the problem of the 2,268 (recently announced miner layoffs) or the 10,800 (miner layoffs in recent years) are the casualties of a war on coal,” McKinley said. “That war on coal didn’t originate in Charleston. It came from the White House and that’s where I think I can serve best,” he said.
The three-term congressman has been discussing a possible run for governor for several months, along with fellow Republicans state Senate President Bill Cole and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Cole informed the two over the weekend that he was going to run for governor, an announcement expected to come Tuesday. McKinley previously said on MetroNews “Talkline” he wanted to avoid a “bloodbath” in a GOP primary.
His comments Monday were more targeted toward President Obama and the EPA, whose policies McKinley claimed are crippling West Virginia’s mining industry.
“That in a nutshell is the primary culprit. It’s not what’s happening in Charleston or in the 55 counties; it’s what’s happening here in Washington. That’s where the problem is,” McKinley said.
McKinley said it would be premature at this time to back a candidate in the GOP primary.