LOGAN, W.Va. –State Senator Paul Hardesty announced Thursday he won’t run for election in 2020.

Paul Hardesty

“I just don’t have the appetite to run,” Hardesty told MetroNews. He plans on serving his term through its completion next year.

Hardesty, D-Logan, was appointed to the 7th District seat in January following the resignation of former Senator Richard Ojeda who resigned after announcing plans to run for president. He quickly found himself in the middle of the one of the legislature’s biggest controversies in recent years, the education reform bill.

Hardesty, a former president of the Logan County Board of Education, said he believes timing is everything.

“I had no idea that the teacher bill would be introduced a week after I was appointed. I feel like I was there for a reason. I think it was that reason. I tried to articulate that issue to the best of my abilities because I care about our teachers, our service personnel and all of our educators,” Hardesty said.

Hardesty, a former longtime lobbyist, said he made the decision after careful consideration and speaking with his family. He said he thinks he can have more of an impact for southern West Virginia outside the Senate Chamber.

“With my relationship with this governor and his administration and my contacts with those around the state and this capitol,” Hardesty said.

State law would require Hardesty to take a mandatory year off from lobbying after his term ends in December 2020.

Hardesty said he believes he’s made an impact during a few short months in the Senate. He said hanging around the capitol for 20 years helped.

“I feel like I have a command of the process. I feel like I know it as good as anybody in the building,” Hardesty said. “I’m committed to it and I just felt comfortable.”

Hardesty said he wanted to make his announcement early to give any potential candidates enough time to make a decision.