CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In front of dozens of supporters at the West Entrance of the State Capitol, Del. Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha) announced he is running for state Senate in 2020.

Nelson, who currently holds the District 35 seat in the House, will go after a state Senate seat in District 17.

Eric Nelson

He told the crowd Tuesday that he will be able to serve and impact more people in the Senate.

“I have been in the House for nine years,” he said. “I have learned a lot and added a lot back. To come over to the Senate and be able to represent more of Kanawha County and give back in a better way, it needs to start now.”

The District 17 seat is currently held by Sen. Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha). Palumbo said on Tuesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ that he is leaning against not running in 2020 for a fourth term.

“I just feel like politics have deteriorated a little bit,” Palumbo said. “We have gotten more D.C. like where it is more combative and antagonistic and less working together.”

File photo

Corey Palumbo

Palumbo added he should have a final decision by the Fall. Nelson said that his decision to run would have been made regardless of Palumbo’s decision.

Another factor in Nelson’s early decision, nearly one year away from the primary, is to prepare to find a replacement before the possibility of the districts switching to single member in 2022.

Among his priorities in the future, Nelson mentioned jobs, healthcare, education, infrastructure and the youth of the state.

“To be a voice for that whole pocket in a smaller group of the Senate, I can do nothing but positive things,” he said of representing District 17. “Not only for Kanawha County but then that resonates in the rest of the state.”

Senate President Mitch Carmichael among other senators were on hand for the announcement and support of Nelson.

“The motion, the progress, the opportunity that awaits the people of West Virginia is only through good leaders like current House of Delegates member and future state Senator, Eric Nelson,” Carmichael said.