CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s 1st District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) is confident he could win a challenged Republican gubernatorial primary election, if he decides to get into the race in 2016.
“We see the poll numbers,” McKinley said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline” of the ongoing discussions about a potential GOP candidate for governor with two other interested elected officials — Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer, 06) and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
While McKinley said the three were talking to each other to try to avoid a “bloodbath in a very contested primary,” if it would come that, McKinley declared he’s “absolutely not” afraid of running against Cole or Morrisey.
“Can they win? Of course they can, but they’re going to have to spend an awful lot of money to try to get up to the levels of recognition and favorable ratings (I have),” McKinley said.
“I don’t want to thump my chest. We have tried to help people all over the 1st District of West Virginia and I think it’s showing up in some of the poll numbers.”
No Republican has yet launched a gubernatorial campaign.
McKinley seemed in no hurry to make a decision about his political future with his 3rd U.S. House term set to end next year. For now, he said he’s focused on ways to improve Washington, D.C.
“Right now, I’m not intimidated by the other two candidates. I can see the numbers,” he said.
“There’s a role in Washington that maybe we can play better than being in Charleston, so we’re trying to determine — what’s the best way to have this impact?”
Both Jim Justice, billionaire businessman and owner of The Greenbrier Resort, along with Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 02) have already filed pre-candidacy papers to begin campaigns for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next May.
The official candidate filing period is Jan. 11 – Jan. 30, 2016. Primary election day in West Virginia is May 10, 2016.