CHARLESTON, W.Va. — During his six-year tenure as chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, Conrad Lucas watched as Republicans filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office to run for public office.
Lucas got to experience what it is like to officially become a candidate Wednesday when he filed to run for the 3rd Congressional District, the fourth Republican to enter the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., who is running for U.S. Senate.
Lucas said leading up to Wednesday, he had been thinking about the advice he used to tell candidates.
“I always advised candidates to make sure to talk to your voters, get to know as many as you can and hear what they have at stake in this and what they are interested in. That’s the most important thing,” he said. “This is an opportunity to serve the people of West Virginia and, therefore, you have to hear from the people of West Virginia.”
Lucas began serving as West Virginia Republican Party chairman in May 2012 at 30 years old, becoming the youngest person in the United States to serve as a state Republican Party chairman.
Lucas said he would help advance President Donald Trump’s agenda if elected. According to Lucas, he voted for Trump in the 2016 primary and general elections, as well as at that year’s Republican National Convention, which Lucas attended as a delegate.
“The most important thing is conservative values, and that’s what the president continues to stand for and that’s what I will continue to stand for,” he said.
Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, Delegate Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, and Dr. Ayne Amjad, of Beckley, previously filed to run for the Republican nomination in the 3rd District race.
Sen. Richard Ojeda, D-Logan, Delegate Shirley Love, D-Fayette, and Paul Davis, the general manager and CEO of Tri-State Transit Authority, filed earlier this month as Democratic candidates for the seat.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former coal miner Bo Copley also filed Wednesday with the Secretary of State’s office.
Gayle Manchin, the state Secretary for Education and the Arts, and Kelsey Kirby, Manchin’s granddaughter and campaign grassroots organizer, submitted the filing on Manchin’s behalf.
“I’m running again because I know I can bridge the political divide and put the days of division behind us,” Manchin said in a statement. “Nothing will ever get fixed if both parties keep playing the blame game. Washington doesn’t have to suck, and we don’t have to accept gridlock. All it takes is both sides putting the country ahead of politics.”
Manchin said his work with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine to end the government shutdown shows how much can be done if both parties work together.
“The events of the past week made it clear that there is still hope and that bipartisanship is still alive. I want to continue to be a problem solver and to get things done for West Virginia and the country that I love,” he added.
Copley, who was laid off from Arch Coal in September 2015, is running for the Republican nomination for Senate. He gained national attention after questioning Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton about her position on coal.
Jenkins, business owner Tom Willis and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship have already filed with the Secretary of State’s office. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he will file to run for Senate on Thursday. Activist Paula Jean Swearengin announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in May, but has yet to file to run for the party’s nomination.