CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Speaker Tim Armstead says he will not run again for election to the House of Delegates, saying he is considering a state Supreme Court run in 2020.
“I’ve made a decision to 2018 and am looking to the future in something I’m considering,” said Armstead, R-Kanawha. “I’m not planning to run for re-election to the House of Delegates this year.”
Armstead made the announcement public today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.” The Speaker went into a caucus with House Republicans prior to that to tell them the news.
“One of the offices I am looking very seriously at is election to the Supreme Court of Appeals,” Armstead said, saying it would be difficult to give full attention to his duties as Speaker while also preparing to a 2020 Supreme Court run.
He later added, “I haven’t made a definite decision. I’m not announcing as a candidate for that. But it’s certainly going to be something I’ll be looking at closely over the next several months.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 19, 2018
Armstead, 52, of Elkview became the first Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates in 84 years when the GOP took over that chamber in 2014.
He was first elected to the House in 1998.
Armstead was House minority leader from 2007 to 2014. He spent many of those years pushing for elimination of the food tax. His prop was a can of pork and beans with a penny taped on top. Armstead held it up at a ceremony in 2013 when the food tax was officially eliminated.
He has also been an advocate for single-member districts in House of Delegates. Much progress has been made on that issue, although the House has been moving a bill this session to make 100 single-member districts a matter of law.
Armstead and Republicans also have talked for many years about eliminating property taxes on industrial manufacturers. Legislation expected to be under consideration this session would phase out that tax over seven years.
In the first year of Republicans gaining majorities in the House and Senate, the GOP voted to make West Virginia a right-to-work state and to repeal prevailing wage, two long-sought goals for the party.
The past two years of GOP majorities also have been marked by extended sessions to settle on a budget as the state faced revenue shortfalls. The Legislature also wound up in a high-profile fight over a Religious Freedom Restoration Act bill in 2016.
“As I leave the House after this term, I think it will be left in good shape,” he said today.
Armstead earned his bachelors degree in political science and history from the University of Charleston in 1987. He earned his law degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1990.
He spent most of his recent career as a lawyer for NiSource Corporate Services Company, starting in 2001. He was working for Columbia Pipeline Group in 2016, but was laid off in September when TransCanada bought the company and eliminated the West Virginia legal division.
His Clendenin home was also flooded during the statewide flooding of 2016.
“It was a tough year. The things I’ve been able to put my attention to at the Capitol have been tremendous, I think,” Armstead said.